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 (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 [d. 1870] (Brunnsee, Austria);
1870, by descent to her son, Henri Charles, Comte de Chambord [d. 1883] (Frohsdorf, Austria);
by descent to Maria Teresa, Comtesse de Chambord [d.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 (Paris, France);
1928-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
Aglietti, F. "Elogio storico di Jacopo e Giovanni Bellini." Discoursi letto nella Accademia. Venice, 1813, 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.

Crowe, J. A. and G.B. 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.

Crowe, J. A. and G.B. 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.

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

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

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

Figaro artistique 6 (December 1928) p. 129.

Gronau, G. "Le opere tarde di Giovanni Bellini" Pinacotheca 1 (September-October 1928): pp. 68, 127.

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

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

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

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

Valentiner, W.R. Das unbekannte Meisterwerk, vol. 1. New York, 1930, no. 17.

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

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

Rothschild, E. von."Tizians 'Kirschenmadonna.'" Belvedere 11 (May-June 1932): pp. 107-114, 110 (ill.).

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

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

Berenson, B. Pitture italiane del rinascimento. Milan, 1936, p. 60.

Gamba, C. Giovanni Bellini. Milan, 1937, p. 165.

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, E.P., 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, L. Giovanni Bellini. Vienna, 1949, p. 95. [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, R. Giovanni Bellini. Milan, 1959, pp. 106, 155, cat. 209 (figs. 212-213).

Richardson, E.P., 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.

Bottari, S. 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, E.P., ed. Treasures from the Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1966, p. 81 (ill.).

Robertson, G. 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, S.J. Painting in Italy 1500-1600. Harmondsworth, 1971, p. 680, note 52.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cummings, F., ed. Selected Works from the DIA, Detroit, 1979, p. 136, cat. 109 (ill.).

Sterne, M. 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.)

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). [as by Bellini and assistants.]

Goffen, R. Giovanni Bellini. Milan, 1990, pp. 62-63. [as by Giovanni Bellini and workshop.]

Tempestini, A. Giovanni Bellini: Catalogo completo dei dipinti. Florence, 1992, p. 282. [as by Bellini and assistants.]

Henshaw, J., ed. A Visitor's Guide: The Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1996, p. 178 (ill.).

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

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

Brown, D.A. 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.

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

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