One of the first Italian artists to master the use of oil paints, Bellini combined the careful draftsmanship and pure geometry typical of the Italian Renaissance with the astute coloring particular to Venetian artists. This depiction illustrates the Virgin's presentation of the Christ child giving his blessing. The artist's use of the green curtain serves to create the illusion of an interior space shared with the spectator, thus establishing a more intimate relationship between the viewer and the object of his or her devotion. Bellini painted many depictions of the Virgin and Child, perfecting this type of devotional painting with charming nuances, such as this naturalistic landscape.
Artist Giovanni Bellini, Italian, between 1431 and 1436 - 1516
  • Madonna and Child
Date 1509
Medium oil on wood panel
Dimensions Unframed: 33 3/8 × 41 3/4 inches (84.8 × 106 cm)
Framed: 44 1/2 × 52 1/2 × 4 inches (113 × 133.4 × 10.2 cm)
Credit Line City of Detroit Purchase
Accession Number 28.115
Department European Painting
On View European: Medieval and Renaissance W234, Level 2 (see map)
Signed Signed and dated, on book, lower center: JOANNES BELLINVS/ MDVIIII
commissioned for Mocenigo family (Venice, Italy);
until 1815, by descent to Mocenigo family;
ca. 1844-1854, Carolina Ferdinanda Luisa, Duchesse de Berry [1798-1870] (Palazzo Vendramin Calergi, Venice, Italy);
April 19, 1865, sold by (Hôtel Drouot, Paris, France) auction Duchesse du Berry, lot 15;
1865, purchased by Marquis de Podénas acting on behalf of Comte de Chambord or the Duchesse du Berry, to whom picture reverted;
1868, Duchesse de Berry (Brunnsee, Austria);
1870, by descent to her son, Henri Charles, Comte de Chambord [1820-1883] (Frohsdorf, Austria);
by descent to Maria Teresa, Comtesse de Chambord [1817-1886];
1886, by descent to her niece [d. 1893];
1893, by descent to Don Jaime de Bourbon (Frohsdorf, Austria);
1928, by descent to Vicomte de Canson [1911-1958] (Paris, France);
1928-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
Aglietti, F. "Elogio storico di Jacopo e Giovanni Bellini." Discoursi letti nella I. R. Accademia di Belle Arti di Venezia. Venice, 1815, p. 78.

Catalogue des tableaux anciens et modernes composant la Galerie du Palais Vendramini [sic] à Venise et appartentant à Mme. Duchesse de Berry. Sales cat., Hôtel Druot. Paris, April 19, 1865, p. 4, no. 15.

Crowe, Joseph Archer and Giovanni Battista Cavalcaselle. A History of Painting in North Italy, Venice, Padua, Vicenza, Verona, Ferrara, Milan, Fiuli, Brescia, From the Fourteenth to the Sixteenth Century. London, 1871, vol. 1, p. 184. [see note 1]

Crowe, Joseph Archer and Giovanni Battista Cavalcaselle. A History of Painting in North Italy, Venice, Padua, Vicenza, Verona, Ferrara, Milan, Fiuli, Brescia, From the Fourteenth to the Sixteenth Century, ed. T. Borenius, 2nd ed. London, 1912, vol. 1, p. 181-182. [see note 6]

Berenson, Bernhard. Venetian Paintings in America. New York, 1916, p. 140. [as Giovanni Bellini.]

Berenson, Bernhard. Dipinti veneziani in America, Milan, 1919, p. 137. [as Giovanni Bellini.]

Valentiner, Wilhelm R. "Giovanni Bellini's 'Madonna and Child.'" Bulletin of the DIA 10 (November 1928): pp. 18-22.

Le Figaro: Supplément artistique illustré 6 (December 1928) p. 129.

Gronau, Georg. "Le opere tarde di Giovanni Bellini" Pinacotheca: studi di storia dell’arte 1 (September-October 1928): pp. 68, 127.

Gronau, Georg. Spätwerke des Giovanni Bellini (Zur Kunstgeschichte des Auslandes, no. 125). Strasbourg, 1928, pp. 14, 24, 35.

Walther, Josephine. “Museum Gains Fine Bellini.” Detroit Free Press, October 7, 1928, p. 69.

Heil, Walter. “Eine Bellini-Madonna im Museum zu Detroit.” Pantheon 3 (March 1929): pp. 140-141.

Gronau, Georg. Giovanni Bellini; des Meisters Gemälde in 207 Abbildungen. Stuttgart, 1930, pp. 167, 216.

Heil, Walter. Catalogue of Paintings in the Permanent Collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1930, cat. 9 (ill.).

Valentiner, Wilhelm R. Das unbekannte Meisterwerk, vol. 1. New York, 1930, no. 17. [Chefs-d'oeuvre inconnus des grands maîtres : Conservés dans les collections particulières et publiques]

Venturi, Lionello. Pitture Italiane in America. Milan, 1931, unpaginated, no. 300 (ill.).

Berenson, Bernhard. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance; A List of the Principal Artists and their Works. Oxford, 1932, p. 70.

Rothschild, Eugene von. “Tizians ‘Kirschenmadonna.’” Belvedere 11 (May-June 1932): pp. 107-114, 110, fig. 125 (ill.).

Waterhouse, Ellis. “A New Bellinesque Picture.” The Burlington Magazine 61, no. 353 (August 1932): 61-63, pp. 62-63, pl. D (ill.).

“Classified Index to Volume LXI, no 352, July to 357, December 1932.” The Burlington Magazine 61, no. 357 (December 1932): 295-288, p. 295. [reference to the reproduction in the August issue]

Wilde, J. "Röntgenaufnahmen der Drei Philosophen' Giorgiones und der 'Zigeunermadonna' Tizians." Jahrbuch der Kunsthistorichen Sammlungen in Wien 6 (1932): pp. 151, 153.

Venturi, Lionello. Italian Paintings in America, vol. 2. New York, 1933, unpaginated, no. 403 (ill.).

Van Marle, Raimond. The Development of the Early Italian Schools of Painting, vol. XVII. The Hague, 1935, p. 325 ff.

Dussler, Luitpold. Giovanni Bellini, Frankfurt, 1935, p. 146. [as by Bellini's workshop.]

Gamba, C. Giovanni Bellini. Milan, 1937, p. 165, pl. 180 (ill.).

Four Centuries of Venetian Paintings. Exh. cat., Toledo Museum of Art. Toledo, March 1940, cat. 7 (ill.).

Robinson, F. "Detroit Looks Back on 20 Years." Art News 38, no. 31 (May 4, 1940): p. 19 (ill.).

Moschini, V. Giambellino. Bergamo, 1943, pp. 33, 42. [as Giovanni Bellini and workshop.]

Richardson, Edgar Preston, ed. Detroit Institute of Arts Catalogue of Paintings, 2nd ed. Detroit, 1944, p. 11, no. 7.

Mostra di Giovanni Bellini, ed. R. Pallucchini. Exh. cat., Palazzo Ducale. Venice, 1949, cat. 119 (ill.).

Detroit Institute of Arts Masterpieces of Painting and Sculpture. Detroit, 1949, p. 62, (ill.).

Dussler, Luitpold. Giovanni Bellini. Vienna, 1949, p. 95, fig. 106 (ill.). [as Giovanni Bellini.]

Norris, C. "Exhibition of Giovannni Bellini's Paintings, 1949." Phoebus 3, no. 1 (1950-1951): p. 41. [as perhaps by Girolamo da Santa Croce.]

Diamond Jubilee Celebration. Exh. cat., Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia, 1950, cat. 13, (ill.) (unpaginated).

Masterpieces of Religious Art. Exh. cat., Art Institute of Chicago. Chicago, 1954, p. 19 (ill.).

Berenson, B. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: The Venetian School, vol. 1. London, 1957, p. 30.

Masterpieces of Art, in memory of William R. Valentiner, 1880-1958. Exh. cat., North Carolina Museum of Art. Raleigh, 1959, p. 278, cat. XLV (ill.).

Pallucchini, Rodolfo. Giovanni Bellini. Milan, 1959, pp. 106, 155, cat. 209 (figs. 212-213).

Richardson, Edgar Preston, ed. Treasures from the Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, 1960, 2nd ed., p. 136 (ill.).

Heinemann, F. Giovanni Bellini e i Belliniani (Saggi e studi di storia dell'arte, no. 6), vol. 1. Venice, 1962, pp. xix (cited), 21, cat. 62; vol. 2: pp. 152-3, pl. 109 (full view, detail).

Arslan, E. "Studi Belliniana." Bolletino d'Arte 47 (1962): pp. 40-58, pp. 55-56.

Gibbons, Felton. “Giovanni Bellini and Rocco Marconi.” The Art Bulletin 44, no. 2 (June 1962): 127-131, p. 130.

Bottari, Stefano. Tutta la pittura di Giovanni Bellini. Milan, 1963, p. 32, pl. 113. [as Giovanni Bellini.]

Paintings in the DIA: A Checklist of the Paintings Acquired Before June 1965. Detroit, 1965, p. 13.

Richardson, Edgar Preston, ed. Treasures from the Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1966, p. 81 (ill.).

Robertson, Giles. Giovanni Bellini. Oxford, 1968, pp. 122-23; pl. CVIb. [as by workshop.]

Pignatti, T. L'opera completa di Giovanni Bellini. Milan, 1969, p. 108, no. 93 (ill.).

Freedberg, Sydney Joseph. Painting in Italy 1500-1600. Harmondsworth, 1971, p. 680, note 52.

Knobler, Nathan. The Visual Dialogue. New York, 1971, pl. 44 (ill.).

Cummings, Frederick and Charles Elam. Detroit Institute of Arts Illustrated Handbook. Detroit, 1971, p. 85 (ill.).

Fredericksen, Burton. and Federico Zeri. Census of Pre-19th Century Italian Paintings in North American Collections. Cambridge, MA, 1972, p. 22.

Huse, Norbert. Studien zu Giovanni Bellini (Beiträge zur Kunstgeschichte, 7), Berlin, 1972, pp. 86 n. 271; p. 90 n. 282; pp. 98-100.

Wilde, Johannes. Venetian Art from Bellini to Titian. Oxford, 1974, pp. 113-114, pl. 96.

Goffen, Rona. "Icon and Vision: Giovanni Bellini's Half-Length Madonnas." Art Bulletin 57 (December 1975): pp. 487-518, p. 493.

Fredericksen, Burton. “New Information on Raphael’s ‘Madonna di Loreto’.” The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 3 (1976): 5-45, p. 40.

Caccialupi, Paola. “Pietro Degli Ingannati.” Saggi e Memorie di Storia dell’arte 11 (1978): 21, 23-43, 147-162, p. 25.

Cummings, Frederick J., ed. Selected Works from the Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1979, pp. 136, 70, no. 109 (ill.).

Sterne, Margarete. The Passionate Eye: the Life of William R. Valentiner. Detroit, 1980, p. 173 (ill.)p. 379 [as The Bourbon Madonna.]

100 Masterworks from the Detroit Institute of Arts. New York, 1985, p. 96, p. 9 (ill.).

Goffen, Rona. Giovanni Bellini. Milan, 1989, pp. 62-63, 66, fig. 45 (ill.). [as by Giovanni Bellini and workshop.]

Brown, David Alan. “Bellini and Titian .” In Titian, Prince of Painters. Exh. cat., Palazzo Ducale and National Gallery. Venice and Washington, D.C., 1990-1991, pp. 62, 67, note 35, fig. 11 (ill.). [as by Bellini and assistants. See also Italian edition]

Tempestini, Anchise. Giovanni Bellini: Catalogo completo dei dipinti. Florence, 1992, pp. 282-283, cat. 100 (ill.). [as by Bellini and assistants.]

Henshaw, Julia, ed. A Visitor's Guide: The Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1995, p. 178 (ill.).

Matthew, Louisa C. “The Painter’s Presence: Signatures in Venetian Renaissance Pictures.” The Art Bulletin 80, no. 4 (December 1998): 616-648, p. 645-646 notes 51, 70.

Olszewski, Edward J. “Central and Lateral Landscapes in Italian Renaissance Paintings.” Notes in the History of Art 17, no. 3 (Spring 1998): 29-35, p. 35, note 15.

Tempestini, Anchise. Giovanni Bellini, trans. A. Bonfante-Warren and J. Hyams. New York and London, 1999, p. 178. [as by Bellini and workshop.]

Wissman, Fronia W. European Vistas: Cultural Landscapes. Detroit, 2000, pp. 22-24, 88 (ill.).

Weston-Lewis, Aiden. “A Drawing in Copenhagen Attributed to Titian.” The Burlington Magazine 144, no. 1195 (October 2002): 596-600, p. 599.

Campbell, Caroline. "The Virgin and Child ('The Gypsy Madonna.')" in Titian, ed. David Jaffé. London, 2003, p. 74, fig. 42 (ill.).

Brown, David Alan and S. Ferino-Pagden. Bellini-Giorgione-Titian and the Renaissance of Venetian Painting. In Technical Studies of Painting Methods by Elke Oberthaler and Elizabeth Walmsley. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art et al. Washington, D.C., 2006, pp. 296, 300, footnote 35 (ill.).

Giovanni Bellini. Exh. cat., Scuderie del Quirinale. Rome, 2008, p. 310, cat. 58. [as Giovanni Bellini.]

Avery-Quash, Susanna. “The Travel Notebooks of Sir Charles Eastlake: Volume II.” The Volume of the Walpole Society 73 (2011): 199-332, p. 208.

Goldin, Marco. Raffaello verso Picasso. Storie du sguardi, volti e figure. Exh. cat., Basilica Palladiana. Vicenza, 2012, pp. 215, 323.