Sunday, August 12, 2012

Cima da Conegliano

Archangel Raphael with Tobias and two saints
c. 1470 - 1517
oil on panel
size unknown
Accademia Galleries, Dorsoduro, Venice, Italy

Giovanni Battista Cima, also called Cima da Conegliano (c. 1459 - c. 1517) was an Italian Renaissance painter, active mainly in nearby Venice. He was born at Conegliano, now part of the province of Treviso. His father was a sheep-shearer (cimator), hence the family surname. After a rudimentary education in painting in Conegliano, he went to Venice, where he emerges as the only artist in Venice equal to Giovanni Bellini. His altarpieces are clear, bright, and poetic and his fame had spread beyond the confines of the Venetian state.

He belonged to the generation between Giovanni Bellini and Giorgione and was one of the leading painters of early Renaissance Venice. Although he was always capable of modest innovation, his style did not undergo any radical alteration during a career of some 30 years, and his response to the growing taste for Giorgionesque works from the early 16th century remained superficial. As a result of that, he had little long-term influence on the course of Venetian painting. His paintings are mostly quiet devotional scenes, often in landscape settings, in the manner of Giovanni Bellini. He has been called "the poor man's Bellini", but because of his calm and weighty figures he was also known in the 18th century as "the Venetian Masaccio".