Great Artists of the Italian Renaissance
From the later part of the 15th century, Venice had a distinctive, thriving and influential art scene. Beginning with the work of Giorgione (c. 1477â€“1510), and the workshop of Giovanni Bellini (c. 1430â€“1516), major artists of the this Venetian school included Titian (1489â€“1576), Tintoretto (1518â€“1594), Veronese (1528â€“1588) and the Bassano (1510â€“1592). Considered to bring a primacy of colour over line, this tradition was seen to contrast with the Mannerism then prevalent in the rest of Italy, and the Venetian style is viewed as having had a great influence on the subsequent development of painting.
During the early 15th century, Venetian art was dominated by the earlier styles arising from its Byzantine links, as exemplified by the work of the Vivarini family. From the late 15th century Venetian painting developed through links with Andrea Mantegna (1431â€“1506) (from nearby Padua) and of a visit by Antonello da Messina (c. 1430â€“1479), who introduced the oil painting technique of Early Netherlandish painting, probably acquired through his training in Naples. Another external factor was the visit by Leonardo da Vinci, who was particularly influential on Giorgione.
During his long career, Bellini has been credited with creating the Venetian style. From his earlier works, such as his Madonna of the Trees (c. 1487) which largely reflect the linear approach of Mantegna, he later developed a softer style, where glowing colours are used to represent form and suggest an atmospheric haze. Applying this approach in his San Zaccaria Altarpiece (1505), the high viewpoint, the uncluttered and interconnected figures arranged in space, and the subtle gestures all combine to form a tranquil yet majestic image. With such works he has been described as reaching the High Renaissance ideals, and certainly expresses the key distinctive factors of the Venetian school.
The Venetian school had a great influence of subsequent painting, and the history of later Western art has been described as a dialogue between the more intellectual and sculptural/linear approach of the Florentine and Roman traditions, and the more sensual, poetic, and pleasure-seeking of the colourful Venetian school. Specifically through the presence of Titian in Spain, the Venetian style influenced later Spanish art, including that of VelÃ¡zquez, and through Rubens was more broadly transmitted through the rest of Europe.
Although not considered part of the Venetian school, it provided the backdrop to 18th century Venetian painting, which had a final flowering in Tiepolo's decorative painting and Canaletto's and Guardi's panoramic views. The extinction of the Republic by French Revolutionary armies in 1797 effectively brought the distinctive Venetian style to an end; it had at least arguably outlasted its rival Florence in that respect.