San Giobbe Altarpiece

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San Giobbe Altarpiece
Accademia - Pala di San Giobbe by Giovanni Bellini.jpg
Artist Giovanni Bellini
Year c. 1487
Medium Oil on panel
Dimensions 471 cm × 258 cm (185 in × 102 in)
Location Accademia, Venice

The San Giobbe Altarpiece (Italian: Pala di San Giobbe) is a c. 1487 oil painting by the Italian Renaissance master Giovanni Bellini, now in the Gallerie dell'Accademia in Venice.


This altarpiece is one of the masterworks of Bellini's mature period, and was painted for the second left altar of the church of San Giobbe in Venice. It was probably inspired by the San Cassiano Altarpiece by Antonello da Messina (1475-1476), and absorbed and further developed that work's innovations. Yet, as the dating of Bellini's painting is uncertain, such dependency cannot be proved. The work is among Bellini's most famous, a claim made as early as De Urbe Sito, a description of Venice by Marco Antonio Sabellico (1487-1491).

Detail of the musician angels.

The depiction of Saints Sebastian and Job indicates that the painting might be created in connection with the plague probably that of 1987[correct date?]. The dating of the work is disputed, ranging from the early 1470s to the late 1480s. Jacopo Sansovino wrote in 1581 that the work for San Giobbe was Bellini's first using oil painting, which would imply an earlier date, nearer to Antonello's altarpiece. Yet, many scholars have disputed such claim.


The work can be read as an example of Holy Conversation: Mary sits on a tall marble throne, holding the Child; at her feet are three musician angels, while at the side are, in symmetrical positions, six saints. They are, on the left, Sts. Francis, John the Baptist and Job; on the right, Sts. Dominic, Sebastian and Louis of Toulouse. The child's feature are very similar to those in the Contarini Madonna, also housed in the Accademia Gallery.

External video
Pala di san giobbe 04.jpg
Bellini's San Giobbe Altarpiece, Smarthistory

The upper part features a perspective coffered ceiling, flanked with pillars which are copies of the real ones at the original altar. Behind the Madonna is a dark niche. In the latter's half-dome is a gilt mosaic decoration in the Venetian style.


External links[edit]

See also[edit]


  • Olivari, Mariolina (2007). "Giovanni Bellini". Pittori del Rinascimento. Florence: Scala. 
  • Nepi Sciré, Giovanna & Valcanover, Francesco, Accademia Galleries of Venice, Electa, Milan, 1985, ISBN 88-435-1930-1