Venice School of Painting (part 2)
Venetians more than the masters of other Italian schools appreciated the capabilities of this technique and completely transformed it. For example, the attitude of Dutch artists to the world was inherent in a reverently contemplative beginning, a shade of religious piety, in each, the most ordinary object, they sought a reflection of the highest beauty. The medium of transmission of this inner illumination became light. The Venetians, who perceived the world openly and in a major way, with almost pagan cheerfulness, saw in the technique of oil painting the opportunity to convey living physicality to the whole image. They discovered the richness of color, its tonal transitions, which can be achieved in the technique of oil painting and in the expressiveness of the very texture of writing.
The paint becomes the basis of the visual language among the Venetians. They do not so much work out the forms graphically as they mold them with strokes – either weightlessly transparent, then dense and melting, piercing human figures, bending folds of fabrics, reflections of sunset on dark evening clouds.
Features of Venetian painting evolved over a long, almost a century and a half, development path. The founder of the Renaissance school of painting in Venice was Jacopo Bellini, the first of the Venetians who turned to the achievements of the most advanced school of the Florence at that time, the study of antiquity and the principles of linear perspective. The main part of his heritage consists of two albums of drawings with the development of compositions of complex multi-figure scenes on religious topics. In these drawings, intended for the artist’s workshop, the characteristic features of the Venetian school are already evident. They are imbued with the spirit of secular chronicle, interest not only in the legendary event, but also in the real life environment.
Jacopo’s successor was his eldest son Gentile Bellini, the largest master of historical painting in Venice of the 15th century. On his monumental canvases, Venice appears before us in all the splendor of its bizarre-picturesque appearance, at the moments of festivities and ceremonies, with crowded magnificent processions and a motley crowd of spectators crowding on narrow embankments of canals and humpbacked bridges.
The historical compositions of Gentile Bellini had an undeniable influence on the work of his younger brother, Vittore Carpaccio, who created several cycles of monumental paintings for the Venetian brotherhoods – Scuol. The most remarkable of them – “History of St. Ursula ”and“ A scene from the life of Saints Jerome, George and Typhon. ” Like Jacopo and Gentile Bellini, he loved to endure the effect of a religious legend and the atmosphere of his modern life, developing a detailed narrative rich in many vital details in front of the audience. But everything was seen with his other eyes – the eyes of the poet, who reveals the charm of such simple life motifs as a scribe who painstakingly dictates, a peacefully dormant dog, a log deck floor, an elastically inflated sail gliding over water. Everything that happens is, as it were, filled with Carpaccio’s internal music, the melody of the lines, the gliding of colorful spots, lights and shadows, inspired by sincere and touching human feelings.