Madonna and Child
Tempera on wood
The signature is visible on the cartouche placed on the parapet: «IOANNES BELLINVS P». Despite this, the poor state of conservation prior to the restoration, carried out in 2008, had insinuated doubts about the autography, which is now certain and refers to the youthful period of Giovanni Bellini, around 1455. In fact, there are still late Gothic pictorial motifs. , inherited from his father Jacopo, like the very thin fingers of the Madonna or the precious golden dots in the mantle. At the same time, however, the crumpled drapery of the robes and the swollen and almost sculptural hands of the Child denounce the influence of Giovanni's brother-in-law, Andrea Mantegna, who in 1453 had married the Bellini's elder sister, Nicolosia. The two figures emerge from a dark background, draped and enlivened by the presence of a border and a row of pearls that intersect the halo of the Madonna. Thanks to the balanced use of chiaroscuro and the introduction of the architectural element of the parapet, a perspective link is created between the user and the devotional image. The work in the night between 10 and 11 May 1970 was stolen and returned to the museum, without a frame, in 1974 by the nucleus of the Carabinieri for the protection of cultural heritage. The table from 1980 is exhibited in the first room of the Pinacoteca Malaspina, a unique and precious piece.