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Cima da Coneglano (Giovanni Battista Cima) (c.1459 c.1517)

( Originally Published 1955 )

Venetian painter, one of the many pupils of Giovanni Bellini, on whose art his own is based. He was a native of Conegliano, but was probably in Venice by 1489. His earliest dated picture, a Madonna Enthroned with Saints, was painted in 1489, and is in the museum at Vicenza. He is recorded as a painter in Venice until 1516, when he appears to have returned to Conegliano, dying there in 1517 or 1518. His production, like that of Bellini, consisted chiefly of altarpieces representing the enthroned Madonna with saints, and of smaller devotional panels of the Madonna and Child. He does not display the originality and inventiveness of Bellini and the small Madonnas are somewhat repetitive. His drawing and figure construction remained harder and stiffer than his master's and in general his mode of expression was less profound. He became, however, a master of the representation of light and one of the best colorists in Venice. His compositions developed more and more into a vehicle for these qualities, with open landscape backgrounds replacing the traditional apse or niche for the enthroned Madonna. There are important altarpieces by him in the museums of London, Berlin and Milan, and in churches and the Academy in Venice.

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