Description of the picture:
Madonna and Saints. Altar of San Jobb – Giovanni (Giambellino) Bellini. 1478-1488. Wood, oil. 471×292
Bernard Burns called Giovanni Bellini the greatest Venetian master of the XV century. The painter began to paint around 1449, and 10 years later he already stood at the head of a large workshop. By the time the altar was made for the church of San Jobb (St. Job), his manner of writing was already formed.
At the foot of the highest throne, on which solemnly sits Madonna and Toddler, blessing those who came to bow to her – playing angels (Saint Job was considered one of the patrons of music). Their vestments are sky-blue, sunny yellow, the colors of lush green – sparkle with precious tints, movements that extract heavenly sounds, are full of luxurious harmony and make a virtual circle. Her echoes stretch to the periphery of the big board, echo with a round “rose” above Madonna’s head and, together with the outline of the arch, apse and canopy, they sound already a powerful chord.
The figures are made in true size. Bellini placed two naked saints, Jobb and Sebastian, on the flanks of the throne of Mary, next to them – Saints John the Baptist, Dominic and Louis of Toulouse. The architecture and decor of the apse, covered in gold smalt, resemble the Cathedral of San Marco. Against a golden background, the words are read clearly: “Ave, the pure flower of virgin chastity.”
The composition was commissioned to the artist by the church of San Jobb and San Bernardino, in Canaregio. It is believed that this was due to the plague of 1478."