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

Santa Conversazione

Oil on panel, 62 x 83 cm
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

The painting represents the Virgin and Child and two figures: a woman praying and a figure who could be St Simeon. The painting may be a Sacra Conversazione (holy conversation), a subject developed at the end of the 15th century, but the figures, rather than conversing, seem to be united in a mystic communion. Their attitudes and expressions convey great peace and a meditative mood which bathes the whole painting: the landscape in the background is harmoniously formed from subtly graduating tones. There are no sharp contrasts and the light and shade is gently blended, creating a chromatic melody achieved through the rendering of the diffusely filtered atmosphere.