BELLINI, Giovanni
(b. ca. 1426, Venezia, d. 1516, Venezia)

Transfiguration of Christ

c. 1455
Tempera on panel, 143 x 68 cm
Museo Correr, Venice

The painting was for long attributed to Mantegna (whose spurious initial can be seen below right), so close is Bellini's painting to the work of his brother-in-law in this period.

The composition shows Elijah and Moses on Mount Tabor on either side of Christ, while below them are the disciples Peter, James and John blinded by the vision, according to the iconography suggested by the Synoptic Gospel. The composition was conceived according to a stratified ascending movement culminating in the figure of Christ, who is clothed in an ethereal pearly-white robe. The figures' shoulders and heads are forced into extreme foreshortening, dictated by the suggestion of the extraordinary Mantegnesque talent for perspective, but the stretch of landscape on the left is already expanded into an image of moving realism.

The panel, which is damaged at the top, probably comes from the church of San Giobbe.