National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION

Tour: Venetian Painting in the Early Renaissance

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image of Saint Helena
« back to Italian painting of the 15th century


In the mid-1400s, Venice was the most powerful city in Italy, made rich by nearly a thousand years of commerce, mostly in goods from the East. Its navy ruled the Mediterranean as if it were a Venetian lake. By the end of the fifteenth century, however, the city's fortunes had begun to change. Venice lost both territory and trade after the fall of Constantinople in 1453. Later, Portuguese naval exploration around the tip of Africa drew still more traffic away from Venetian-controlled overland routes. Increasingly the city's future lay with the West. Despite the renown of its ambassadors and spies, however, Venice's position weakened. (continue)


1Antonello da Messina, Madonna and Child, c. 1475
2Giovanni Bellini, Madonna and Child, c. 1480/1485
3Giovanni Bellini, Portrait of a Young Man in Red, c. 1480
4Giovanni Bellini, Saint Jerome Reading, 1505
5Vittore Carpaccio, The Flight into Egypt, c. 1515
6Benedetto Diana, The Presentation and Marriage of the Virgin, and the Annunciation, 1520/1525
7Cima da Conegliano, Saint Helena, c. 1495