Artibus et Historiae no. 83 (XLII)

2021, ISSN 0391-9064

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MAURO LUCCO - Two New Panels by Giovanni Bellini and the Discovery of a Hitherto Unknown Polyptych (pp. 85–109)

Two panel paintings, which have hitherto remained anonymous, have been identified here as works by Giovanni Bellini, and thus give an opportunity for fresh research and providing new territory for the exploration of the early chronology of the painter. The polyptych comprises two elements – a Saint Stephen, which would have stood to the left of a hypothetical central panel, and a Saint Lawrence to its right – unquestionably forming part of the same group of panels as two others – representing Bishop Saint (Augustine?) and Saint Anthony Abbot – in the Louvre. A number of elements – their dimensions, format, three-lobed arches, almost blackened azurite backgrounds, the absence of a low wall behind the figures, an extraordinarily similar visual rendering (perhaps due also to the specific blend of painting mediums, tempera and oil), as well as several easily verifiable features, such as the floor pattern with its alternating white and red squares, lines of perspective converging in a coordinated way to the same vanishing point, and the so-called ‘beards’ created where the frame had been removed from the painted surface – coincide perfectly, and as a consequence are unquestionable proof that the four panels belonged together.

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