Nobody visiting the eternal city in late 2008 could have failed to notice that there's been a major exhibition of works by the 15th century Venetian painter Giovanni Bellini at the Scuderie del Quirinale with an extensive advertising campaign featuring the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple on the city's transport system. Like the Etruscans at the Palaexpo this has been billed as one of the must-see shows of the season – if you haven't seen it yet, catch it before it closes because this exhaustive review of Bellini's work really is essential viewing!
Organised across both floors of the Scuderie galleries on a genre by genre basis, the exhibition includes not only smaller portraits and Madonnas but also, most impressively, entire large scale altarpieces such as the Pesaro Altarpiece in the first room, all beautifully and discreetly lit. Making full use of the potential of this exhibition space, the very large Vicenza Baptism of Christ is hung on the end wall of the final room on the ground floor allowing visitors the chance to admire its dazzling colours along the entire length of the gallery.
One of the most intriguing pieces is a panel, Dead Christ Supported by Two Angels, from circa 1470 which is dated and signed with Albrecht Dürer's highly recognisable AD monogram (the catalogue, incidentally, reassures us that this is a fake signature!)
Giovanni Bellini curated by Mauro Lucco and Giovanni C.F.Villa is at the Scuderie del Quirinale until 11 January 2009.