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


Oil on panel, 106 x 84 cm
Pinacoteca, Vatican

This painting "crowned" the Pesaro Altarpiece, according to customary canons of the time it was mounted on the top of the frame of the altarpiece (cymatium). In the 18th century it was replaced by a painting of St. Jerome. According to some critics the painting was not intended by Bellini to be arranged on this altarpiece, and possibly it became its crowning piece only some years later.

The Pietà is a sublime artistic object in itself. It seems to have concentrated a deeply-felt knowledge of the divine sacrifice. The choral silence of the three figures around Christ, their contemplative meditation, and the play of their interlocking hands, render its sacramental sense of sublime communion.