BELLINI is often seen in the shadow of his father Jacopo Bellini (c.
1400-70), a Venetian pioneer in the use of oil paint as an artistic
medium, his acclaimed brother Giovanni Bellini,
and his brother-in-law Andrea Mantegna
("the most classical artist in all Italy," in the view of arts historian
Gentile's earliest signed work is The Blessed Lorenzo Giustinian
(1445), one of the oldest surviving oil paintings in Venice, now
at the Accademia Museum. He was also, with Lazzaro Bastiani, Vittore
Carpaccio, Giovanni Mansueti and Benedetto Rusconi, one of the five
artists of the 10-painting narrative cycle known as The Miracles
of the Relic of the Cross, commissioned for the School of St.
John the Evangelist to celebrate the relic of the Holy Cross which
it had received in 1369. Gentile's contributions are Procession
of the Relic in the Piazza (1496) and The Recovery of the
Relic from the Canal of S. Lorenzo (1500), which depicts Queen
Caterina Cornaro (B-31) in the far left. Gentile also portrayed
Queen Caterina in a portrait
now in the collection of the Szepmuveszeti Museum in Budapest.
The early art historian Giorgio Vasari
reports that Gentile Bellini himself travelled, 1479, to Constantinople,
where his skills were praised and richly rewarded by the Turkish
Holberton has commented that Gentile abandoned his father's linear
mannerisms and improved his perspective.