How To Read Paintings: Bellini’s San Zaccaria Altarpiece

The decoding of a Venetian masterpiece

Detail from ‘San Zaccaria Altarpiece’ (1505) by Giovanni Bellini (c.1430–1516). Source Wikiart
Detail of ‘San Zaccaria Altarpiece’. Source Wikiart
Detail of ‘San Zaccaria Altarpiece’, showing from left to right, St Peter, St Catherine, the Virgin Mary holding the Christ Child, St Lucy and St Jerome. Source Wikiart

What are we looking at?

One of the pleasures of the painting is in discovering the tiny details that bring it’s meaning to life.

Ostrich egg and crystal lamp detail. Source Wikiart
Carved head of Solomon on the throne of the Virgin and Child. Source Wikiart
‘San Zaccaria Altarpiece’ (1505) by Giovanni Bellini (c.1430–1516). Source Wikiart
Detail of ‘San Zaccaria Altarpiece’. Source Wikiart

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Art historian, critic, novelist, artist. Author of Berlin Tales: https://www.chrisjoneswrites.co.uk/berlin-tales-series/

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