Italian Painter, ca.1470-1531
Italian painter. He worked in Venice, the Veneto and Lombardy in the early decades of the 16th century. Knowledge of him is based largely on the signatures, dates and inscriptions on his works. His early paintings are small devotional pictures; later he became a fashionable portraitist. His earliest dated painting, a Virgin and Child (1502; Venice, priv. col., see Berenson, i, pl. 537), is signed 'Bartolomeo half-Venetian and half-Cremonese'. The inscription probably refers to his parentage, but it also suggests the eclectic nature of his development. This painting is clearly dependent on similar works by Giovanni Bellini and his workshop, but in a slightly later Virgin and Child (1505; Bergamo, Gal. Accad. Cararra) the sharp modelling of the Virgin's headdress and the insistent linear accents in the landscape indicate Bartolomeo's early divergence from Giovanni's depiction of light and space. An inscription on his Virgin and Child of 1510 (Milan, Ercolani Col.) states that he was a pupil of Gentile Bellini, an assertion supported by the tightness and flatness of his early style. The influence of Giovanni is still apparent in the composition of the Circumcision (1506; Paris, Louvre), although the persistent stress on surface patterns and the linear treatment of drapery and outline is closer to Gentile. Bartolomeo's experience as a painter at the Este court in Ferrara (1505-8) probably encouraged the decorative emphasis of his style. In the half-length Portrait of a Man (c. 1510; Cambridge, Fitzwilliam) the flattened form of the fashionably dressed sitter is picked out against a deep red curtain so that the impression of material richness extends across the entire picture surface.