This will be the first full-scale exhibition to jointly present the work of two of the greatest Renaissance artists, who also happened to be brothers-in-law. In 1452/3 the ambitious, dynamic painter and print maker Andrea Mantegna, who was active in Padua, married into the Bellini family, who were among the leading painters in nearby Venice. Mantegna’s brilliant compositional innovations and his deep interest in classical antiquity made a major impact on his youngest and most talented brother-in-law, Giovanni Bellini. In time, Giovanni Bellini’s very different pictorial style also had a deep effect on Mantegna’s work.
Mantegna and Bellini did not work in close proximity for long: in 1460 Andrea moved to Mantua. He remained Court Painter to the ruling Gonzaga family until his death in 1506, and Giovanni, who died ten years later, spent his whole career in Republican Venice. They were active in very different environments, and their artistic styles developed in sometimes very different ways. Yet their work, for the rest of their long lives, provides evidence of their continuing creative artistic exchange.
(Photo: Andrea Mantegna, Darbringung im Tempel (detail), © Fondazione Querini Stampalia, Venedig / cameraphoto arte snc)