(b. ca. 1415, Murano, d. 1476/84, Venezia)

Virgin and Child Blessing

Tempera on panel, 56 x 41 cm
Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice

While at Padua and even in Venice itself some of the main figures of the new art of Tuscany were working to the laws of perspective and in the conviction of the conscious dignity of man as an individual, Venetian painting reacted to the promptings of the new culture almost with reluctance, filtering them through a vision which in substance was still Gothic. This is the context of the work of Antonio Vivarini and Jacopo Bellini, both founders of dynasties of artists, and both crucial figures in the period of transition in Venice from the first to the second half of the fifteenth century. This 'Madonna and Child' belongs to Antonio Vivarini's earliest period and is characterized by a certain plasticity of shape and form arising out of the gentle throbbing of the chiaroscuro and the luminous timbre of the colour.