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The most famous Venetian painters: an itinerary for art lovers

The most famous Venetian painters: an itinerary for art lovers

February 2022

Venice is a surprising powerhouse of works and masterpieces dating back to many different historical periods and artistic movements. When it comes to art and especially painting, Venice has almost no rivals: over the centuries, the city has welcomed masters of great fame and, nowadays, it boasts an unsurpassed variety of masterpieces which are hosted among some of the most popular museums and galleries in the city.

Who are the most famous Venetian painters? In today’s article we present some of them, sharing our suggestions about where to admire some of their most famous works during your itinerary in Venice.

Giovanni Bellini (1430 – 1516)

Starting from the Early Renaissance, Giovanni Bellini certainly is the greatest exponent of Venetian painting. His favourite subjects were the Madonnas with Child and the Pietà series. Bellini paves the way for the so-called ‘tonalism’, combining the chromatic depth typical of Venetian painting with the plasticism of Piero della Francesca and the human realism of Antonello da Messina.

Where to find some of Giovanni Bellini’s works in Venice:

  • the Altarpiece of San Giobbe at the Accademia Galleries
  • the Triptych of the Frari in the Basilica of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari
  • the Altarpiece Barbarigo in the Church of San Pietro Martire in Murano

pala di san giobbe bellini

Tiziano Vecellio (1488 – 1576)

Moving on to the Late Renaissance, Tiziano Vecellio is not only a well-known Venetian painter, but one of the most important artists of the entire Sixteenth Century.

Tiziano can be considered an innovator not only for his art but also for having transformed the role of artists within society: they became entrepreneurs, with their own workshop and collaborators. Tiziano is one of the greatest masters of colour and he deals with the most disparate themes: from religious painting, to mythological subjects, passing through allegories and portraits.

In 1513 Tiziano worked on The Battle of Cadore for the Doge’s Palace and he soon became the official painter of the Republic of Venice, creating numerous works for the city.

Where to find some of Tiziano’s works in Venice:

  • The Pietà at the Accademia Galleries
  • the Pesaro Altarpiece in the Basilica of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari
  • The Martyrdom of St. Lawrence in the Jesuit Church
  • various works in the Doge’s Palace

pietà di tiziano

Tintoretto (1518 – 1594)

Among the greatest exponents of Mannerism we can’t but mention Tintoretto. About Jacopo Robusti – this was his real name – Jean-Paul Sartre said: “Tintoretto is Venice even if he does not paint Venice”. Known as ‘the furious’, his distinctive traits are bold perspectives, violent colours and scenographic light effects.

Where to find some of Tintoretto’s works in Venice:

  • Saint Mark frees a Slave and Stealing of the Body of Saint Mark at the Accademia Galleries
  • The wedding at Cana in the Church of Santa Maria della Salute
  • the decoration of the walls and ceiling of the Scuola Grande di San Rocco
  • various works in the Doge’s Palace

nozze di cana tintoretto

Tiepolo (1696 – 1770)

Giambattista Tiepolo was born in Venice in the parish of S. Pietro in Castello, near Sant’Elena, and represents the Venetian Rococo like no other. In his works he depicts the decadent society of nineteenth-century Venice and showcases great skills in assimilating and reworking in his own way the stylistic intonations of many artists.

Where to find some of Tiepolo’s works in Venice:

  • The Martyrdom of San Bartolomeo in the church of San Stae
  • various works in the chapel of Santa Teresa in the church of the Scalzi
  • the frescoes of the Gesuati church
  • The Nobility and Virtue that overthrow Ignorance at the Museum of the Venetian Eighteenth Century in Ca’ Rezzonico

il martirio di san bartolomeo tiepolo

Canaletto (1697 – 1768)

Giovanni Antonio Canal, better known as Canaletto, is one of the leading exponents of landscape painting. He is often remembered for the minutiae and abundance of details with which he painted Venetian palaces and canals.

Where to find some of Canaletto’s works in Venice:

  • The Grand Canal from Campo San Vio at the Rialto Bridge, The Grand Canal towards Rialto and The Rio dei Mendicanti at Ca’ Rezzonico Museum of the Venetian eighteenth century
  • The Capriccio with Colonnade and Courtyard at the Accademia Galleries
  • Various drawings at the Correr Museum

canal grande da campo san vio canaletto

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