Author: Alvise Vivarini

Century: 15th

Date: 1494

Church: Church of San Giovanni Battista in Bragora


The panel is dated to 1494. It was originally placed in the chapel of St. John the Almsgiver, and later moved to its current position, which is the left wall of the nave. Here, too, the Flemish influence is noticeable through the painting of Antonello da Messina, which can also be seen in the contemporary works of Bellini, in the skilled use of oil technique and chromaticism.

It can be hypothesized that this iconography had a certain success in private circles, especially due to the strong emotional impact of the gaze. In any case, it is a very ancient iconography with roots in the Byzantine world. The work oscillates between the rigid hieratic nature, solemnity, and stillness of the figure, which highlights its sacredness, and the naturalism of the lateral light that emphasizes the materiality of the garments and the plasticity of the figure. The contrast between these two aspects is evident in the dark background behind the figure, which reduces the volumetric and perspective sharpness.