Giovanni Bellini, The Agony in the Garden, about 1465, panel, bought 1863. © The National Gallery, London.
The Gemäldegalerie presents an extensive exhibition on the intricately related work of Andrea Mantegna (ca. 1431–1506) and Giovanni Bellini (ca. 1435–1516). With around 100 works, this cooperation between the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin and the National Gallery London will present the work of these two masters of the Italian Renaissance side by side for the first time.
In 1452/3 the ambitious, dynamic painter and printmaker Andrea Mantegna, who was active in Padua, married into the Bellini family, who were among the leading painters in nearby Venice. Mantegna’s brilliant compositional innovations and his deep interest in classical antiquity made a major impact on his youngest brother-in-law, Giovanni Bellini. During this time, Bellini’s distinctive painterly style also made a deep impression on Mantegna’s work. After just 10 years of close collaboration, their paths parted. In 1460 Andrea moved to Mantua, where he remained Court Painter to the princely Gonzaga family until his death. Giovanni, on the other hand, spent his entire artistic career in Venice. They were active in very different environments, and their artistic styles developed in very different directions. Yet through all phases of their creative lives, their work provides evidence of their continuing artistic dialogue, something that can be sensed even today.