- The Madonna and the Child by BelliniFree pictural reworks of Bellini
Bellini is a Venitian painter and the sea was in the center of the power of Venice in his times. Venice has one the first fleet in the Mediterranean area during the fifteenth century. So central in the powerful town that Bellini traveled to Constantinople to paint a portrait of Mehmed II (We don’t know if Venice send him or if Mehmed asked for a Venitian painter). In this image, putting the altar painted by Bellini, on the edge of the water and under something which could be a modern altar dedicated to water was a way of synthesizing this different point of view about Bellini and his town.
An other perspective is that many of the holly people in Catholicism are based on ancient divinities, gods or goddesses. Water, in different forms, is one of them. We all come of a stay in the mother womb and, at the same time, it is from water that life on earth is based. Some philosophers think one of the “tasks” of Mary, in the Catholic theology is to replace the ancient divinities of fertility and mother goddess or sacred female.
To give birth to something is, at the same time loose something. This is the reason for the Autumn leaves on this sacred embankment.
San Zaccaria Altarpiece, 1505 ; oil on canvas, transferred from panel ; San Zaccaria, Venice