Structure and Paintings: Procession into St. Mark's Square

7:00 AM

Structure and Paintings
Analyzing Architecture and Perspective within Paintings
Curated by Max Cantu-Lima

Pt. I: Procession into St. Marks Square

Gentile Bellini, Procession into St. Mark's Square, 1496
"We move through negative spaces an dwell in positive spaces." 
#6, 101 Things I learned in Architecture School, Matthew Fredrick

With this series of paintings that I'll be showcasing over the next week, I wanted to discuss the use of architecture and how its depicted within paintings. Along with this I intend to include a quote that applies to the architectural style of the painting. The paintings are not limited only to architecture but also to the use of perspective and how that influences the feel of the painting. The inspiration behind this theme comes from my intentions to study Architecture in college.

Within Gentile Bellini's Procession into St. Marks Square, we witness a fragment of the "True Cross" being carried through the square. The building found in the background is St. Mark's Library in Venice. It was believed to be the safest location for books because as city built on water there would be less risk of a fire than other places. Bellini was able to reproduce its beauty onto canvas with accurate measurements and application of color. The painting could almost be a photograph due to his execution of detail. From the people to buildings, Bellini manipulates the paint to depict the smallest details of the work.

What sets this painting apart from others is Bellini's use of space. By drawing these lines into the floor, Bellini shows us the vanishing point he was using and demonstrates the use of one-point perspective. With this space he separates the front of the canvas, the masses carrying the artifact, from the Library, opening up square for its citizens to mingle in. Bellini also captures an asymmetrical balance within his work through the mass of people and buildings using strong lines that lead the people back on either side of the library. From the musicians on the right, with their bronze trumpets, to the robes, Bellini captures this moment that we would think was taking place before his eyes, yet this took place fifty years prior to his commission.

The space he creates with perspective provides a sense of comfort to the viewer because of the accuracy in proportions. The Gothic-styled library contains depth with the arches, created by the shades of color, and its height is exaggerated through the columns, towering over its people with pride. What makes Bellini a master is his ability to mix paint into shades that mimic the our sense of reality and applying them with meticulous brush strokes.

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