Venetian painters


Titian's Assumption

Tition's Assumption, Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, Venice

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Titian was the most important painter of the Venetian Renaissance school. He was very innovative, as he introduced a whole new style of painting: up until Titian, the Michelangelo style was the ruling one, characterized by the importance of the lines. Titian, on the contrary, used to give more importance to colour and its relationship with light.

In Venice we can admire lots of his works, particularly its masterpiece, the "Assumption of the Virgin", kept in the Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari.

Jacopo Tintoretto

Tintoretto's Last Supper

Tintoretto's Last Supper, San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice

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Tintoretto (1518 - 1594) is considered to be the predecessor of Rembrandt because of his constant aim to create contrasts between dark and light. Tintoretto's paintings are recognized for the dramatic feelings they evoke; they are characterized by sharp light, luminous half shadows and different shades of colour. Geometry was a basic element in his works, as he was interested in perfectly recreating perspective.

He was also greatly influenced by Michelangelo and by his depiction of human figures: humans in Tintoretto's works have the same strong body as those by Michelangelo. His stand-out ability was painting very quickly. Schools such as the "Scuola di San Rocco", were fascinated by Tintoretto's ability to paint.

Venice is full of his works; the most famous are the Last Supper and the "Crucifixion".


Giorgione (1477-1510) was Bellini's favorite painter. Under the protection of the "San Geronimo" school, Giorgione reversed all of the standards and hierarchical rules of the period: in the "Madonna di Castelfranco" the human figures are just as important as the landscape.

Giorgione is a very mysterious figure, as there is great uncertainty about the attribution of his works: we are sure only about 6 paintings. However, the very fact that despite this lack of information and material, Giorgione is still regarded as one of the most important figures in the art world, says it all about his talent and revolutionary style.

One of the most innovative features of GIorgione's art was that he painted only with artistic purposes (themes such as religion or commitment, etc are absent): his art was just the result of deep artistic study.

Mariano Fortuny

Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo was son to Mariano Fortuny y Marsal, a renowned Catalan painter. As a child, he showed pretty soon great talent and interest for art. His family moved to Paris and then to Venice, where he could broaden his artistic horizons. His work included painting, architecture, photography, sculpting, but he is mostly remembered for his activity as a fashion designer.

Fortuny moved in Venice in 1889: here he bought the Pesaro-Orfei palace, an ancient building which was almost in ruins. He restored the whole structure and made it his residence and studio. Before he died, he left the palace to his wife, Henriette Negrin, who left it in turn to the city of Venice.

Now the palace is called Fortuny palace and it has turned into a prestigious art gallery.


Triumph of Venice, by Veronese

Triumph of Venice, by Veronese

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Veronese (1528–1588) is the last Renaissance artist of Venice. In fact, both his early and mature works have to be considered as Mannerism works. Veronese loved to paint Mannerism figures, often in contorted poses, whilst also giving importance to strong colors and contrasts. An example of Veronese's style is seen in the the Temptation of St. Anthony in the Cathedral of Mantua.

His mature works mostly consist of frescoes painted for civil buildings and villas, mainly located in the countryside of Venice, such as Villa Barbaro in Maser. The fresco painted for the villa represents illusory architecture and takes inspiration from the style of Palladio who designed the entire building.

His very last works clearly show a return to a more classical taste, composed of dazzling light, harmonious colours and rigorous compositions. The most remarkable work of this period is the "Triumph of Venice" in the Doges's Palace, which clearly demonstrates all of the artistic experience acquired by Veronese. 

Giovanni Antonio Canal "Canaletto"

St Mark's Square by Canaletto

St Mark's Square by Canaletto

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Giovanni Antonio Canal called Canaletto (1697-1768) found the ideal setting for his paintings in Venice. He created his first open air paintings in Rome; when he came back to Venice he began to elaborate on his so-called "Capricci", a typical Rococo concept based on a free and imaginative assembling of different elements, in a unique setting.

Canaletto is also known for his "vedutisti" paintings, closely related to more realistic representations. His favourite settings were urban centres. With regards to this, Canaletto was interested in a representation of buildings in perspective, as well as in a diffused, homogenous light, present in the whole setting of the painting.

Canaletto arranged his works after a scrupulous study of reality. The representation was set to geometrical lines, so to reproduce reality in the most accurate way. His "veduta" works always have two different perspectives offered by the canvas. To set the composition Canaletto also used a "dark room".

Bernardo Bellotto

Bernardo Bellotto (1720-1780) was the grandson of Canaletto. He advanced Canaletto's studies in Vedutismo (paintings in the Veduta style) and aimed to realize a more objective representation.

Francesco Guardi

Francesco Guardi (1712-1793) is today considered one of the greatest painters of the XVIII° century, but for a long time he was a "misunderstood artist". Unlike Canaletto, he was completely ignored by supporters of art and lived in poverty.

Guardi differs from Canaletto for having a better artistic temperament; in his paintings there is a more remarkable contrast between dark and light. Sky and water are barely different in colour. In other words, his paintings give a feeling of the infinite, linking Guardi's work to Romanticism.

Jacopo Bellini

Jacopo Bellini (1428-1515) was the first exceptional painter of the Venetian Renaissance. Father of Gentile and big brother of Giovanni Bellini, Jacopo was at first a court painter at Ferrara, before moving to Padua, where he founded his own art studio.

His remarkable turn towards Renaissance art can be seen in the "Madonna col Bambino" (1448, Pinacoteca of Brera), in which the monumental appearance of the human figures clearly emerges. He was supported by the schools "Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista" and the "Scuola Grande di San Marco". Around 1455 he painted the "Madonna col Bambino Bendedicente e cherubini", housed in the Accademia Galleries.

Gentile Bellini

Gentile Bellini (1426-1507) was the son of Jacopo. He is especially known for his large paintings which decorate public buildings, such as the "Scuola di San Rocco". The school "Scuola di San Giovanni Evangelista" gave him great support: it appointed Bellini and other influential painters of that time to carry out many works of art.


Giovanni Bellini

Bellini's Pietà

Bellini's Pietà

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Giovanni Bellini (1428-1516) is without a doubt one of the most important Renaissance painters, and he is recognized as the most emblematic figure of Venetian Renaissance art. Giovanni Bellini also worked as sculptor, but he is particularly famous for his paintings. His principal characteristic was his development of a new form of landscape, far from the excessive formality of Mantegna, who had great influence on his early work.


Giovan Battista Tiepolo

St. Bartholomew's Martyrdom

St. Bartholomew's Martyrdom

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At first, Giovan Battista Tiepolo's work was part of the Tenebrous artistic movement, which is clear in some of his works such as the "Martirio di San Bartolomeo" (1722) . He managed to receive commissions to fresco Venetian churches, palaces and aristocratic villas. Villa Pisani in Stra is home to his most famous fresco.

Tiepolo's painting differs from the Baroque style because there is more focus in creating contrasts between fiction and reality. Tiepolo's representations are dreamlike, far from realistic perceptions of space.

Pietro Longhi

Pietro Longhi (1702-1785) is known as the painter of the middle-class. Longhi captured typical scenes of the middle class and nobility, using a smooth and elegant style. In Longhi's paintings (for example Ritratto di Famiglia) an image of a decadent society clearly emerges. 

Works by Longhi in Venice: Ritratto di Famiglia, 1760-65, hosted in Palazzo Leoni Montanari.

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