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Temporary exhibition

The painting was bequeathed to the Gallerie in 1850 by the widow of conte Bernardino Renier, Maria Felicita Bertrand, who left a particularly valuable group of paintings to the museum in accordance with her late husband’s wishes. The work is a typical example of Giovanni Bellini’sSacre conversazioni (sacred conversations) with half-figures positioned next to each other along a horizontal plane in the foreground. This type of painting was particularly sought after by private collectors in Venice and mainland Italy and was popular between the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, the earliest being those produced by Bellini and his workshop. Rather common to this type of painting is the presence of portraits in the guise of (eponymous?) saints, as the highly realistic face of Saint George on the right would seem to suggest, undoubtedly the finest portrait in the painting. The probable client can also be identified by the insignia on the helmet and the lance painted with a red cross, which may be a reference to a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. This work is dated to around 1490, soon after his painting of theMadonna degli alberetti (Madonna of the small trees) in 1487, and here Bellini has used the same pose of the Madonna and Child.