Giovanni Bellini, (born c. 1430, Venice [Italy]—died 1516, Venice), Italian painter who, in his work, reflects the increasing interest of the Venetian artistic milieu in the stylistic innovations and concerns of the Renaissance (metmuseum). Bellini was one of the most influential Venetian artists. He lived and worked in Venice all his life; his career spanned 65 years. Little is known about Bellini’s family. Bellini’s father, Jacopo, a painter was a pupil of the Gentile da Fabriano, in any case, Jacopo introduced the principles of the Florentine Renaissance to Venice before either of his sons (Britannica). Jacopo strove to ensure that his sons would become distinguished painters as well and, it is said, often pitted them each other.
In Bellini’s depiction of the Madonna and Child (One of Bellini’s mature works), the Madonna, with her face calm and collective, is tenderly holding the Christ Child on her knee, the Madonna is seated improbably in front of a velvet curtain set in a landscape with a city and rolling mountains in the distance. “The transition from a dormant to a verdant nature and a dawn sky is a metaphor for death and rebirth (metmuseum)”. The landscape seems to allude to the theme of death and resurrection: the trees are barren in the foreground and while the fields follow behind in the background is all green, the effect is somewhat a little over the top with some of the brownish color in the middle having been faded over the time (metmuseum). The path leading from the town to the barren foreground is a motif found in many of Bellini’s paintings and may be intended to suggest the journey of the life of the soul.
A Madonna is a representation of Mary with her child Jesus. These images are the central icons for the Catholic and the Orthodox churches. While Mary may be referred to as the Madonna in other contexts, it is applied specifically to an artwork in which Mary, with or without baby Jesus, is the main focus, and central figure of this artwork. The word is from Old Italian "ma donna" which means (my lady). Mary and the infant may or may not be surrounded by the saints, like in earlier versions. In Bellini’s version of Madonna and Child, Mary and the baby Jesus are the main focus in the painting. The spectator, after all, is meant to sympathize, to share in the despair of the mother who holds the body of her crucified son (artable).