The one that opened in October and will close on January 27th at the National Gallery in London, is an unprecedented double exhibition of two of the greatest artists of the Italian Renaissance: Giovanni Bellini (active about 1459–1516) and Andrea Mantegna (1430/1–1506). ‘Mantegna and Bellini‘, that from March to June will be exhibited in Berlin, is organized by the National Gallery and the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin in collaboration with the British Museum and presents a tale of two artists, their families, and their cities; an interlinked story of art, family, rivalry, marriage, pragmatism, and personality.
Through exceptionally rare loans of paintings, drawings, and sculpture, traveling to London from across the world, the exhibition offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to compare the work of these two important artists who also happened to be brothers-in-law – a family connection from which both drew strength and brilliance throughout their careers.
The son of a carpenter, Andrea Mantegna was a self-made man. In 1453 the prodigiously talented young painter from Padua, married into the greatest artistic family of nearby Venice – the Bellini. Mantegna’s new brother-in-law, Giovanni Bellini, was also a phenomenally gifted artist who was bringing new innovations to the Venetian use of color, observed light, atmosphere, and landscape to create an entirely new form of art. Their admiration and respect were mutual and throughout their long lives they enjoyed a proficuous and continuous creative exchange – something visitors to the exhibition will be able to observe at first hand through key groupings of subjects both artists portrayed.
Dr. Caroline Campbell, Director of Collections and Research at the National Gallery and curator of ‘Mantegna and Bellini’ says: “Exhibitions focusing on 15th-century art are rare as the works involved are often fragile and so cannot travel very often – therefore ‘Mantegna and Bellini’ really is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to explore the relationship and work of these two artists who played such a pivotal role in the history of art.”