Colnaghi Foundation Journal 03 - Page 125



122
Reflections on the date and impact of Giovanni Bellini’s Saint Vincent Ferrer Polyptych
But how is it possible to explain the innovations of
the Saint Vincent Ferrer Polyptych, in particular Bellini’s
remarkable new approach to light and evolving
chromatic range in the depiction of objects and
flesh, combined with a certain metallic quality in
the figures’ hair? “Echoes of Marco Zoppo” have
rightly been detected in the altarpiece by Alessandro
Conti. 29 Marco Zoppo’s earliest documented link
to Venice dates to 1463, when he executed the
illuminations for Bartolomeo Sanvito’s edition of
Cicero’s Epistolae ad Atticum, commissioned by the
Venetian Marcantonio Morosini. 30 The Saint Vincent
Ferrer Polyptych might be understood as an immediate
reaction to this new, stimulating artistic presence in
town, which seems to have helped Bellini to take his
distance, radically and decisively from Mantegna,
who since 1460 was at the Mantuan court and who
in 1464, the date proposed here for the Saint Vincent
Ferrer Polyptych, was already navigating distant
waters. In fact in September of that year he was
pursuing his dream of antiquity on a boat on Lake
Garda, dressed like an ancient Roman.
Reflections on the date and impact of Giovanni Bellini’s Saint Vincent Ferrer Polyptych
Fig. 12 / Giovanni Bellini,
Saint Dominic (detail),
Nativity Triptych, ca. 14621463, panel, Venice, Gallerie
dell’Accademia.
Fig. 13 / Giovanni Bellini, Saint
Vincent Ferrer (detail), Saint
Vincent Ferrer Polyptych, ca.
1464, panel, Venice, Santi
Giovanni e Paolo.
123

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