Project Description

Created in the mid-fifteenth century, this painting epitomizes the art of the Italian Renaissance. Historic records attribute this painting to Giovanni Bellini, one of the greatest Venetian masters of his time. Modern researchers however, have argued against his claim to some later pieces. A Pagan Rite has caused intense debate about over the identity of its true artist. This painting utilizes a technique called chiaroscuro. Chiaroscuro is contrast between areas of light and shade.  It is exemplified in the difference between the darkly muted background and the bright figures. The soft haze of chiaroscuro only became possible with the newfound popularity of oil paints in the early fifteenth century. Bellini enthusiastically switched from tempera paints once oils were introduced to Venice. This work of art, along with twelve others of the Italian Renaissance, were given to Berea College in 1961 by the Kress Foundation. The Kress Foundation has been working to collaborate with schools to augment and improve arts education since its founding in 1929.

-Charla Hamilton

Object Details

Bellini, Venetian School
14½” x 25½”
Painting & Drawing
Gift of the Kress Foundation