Saturday in the Museum with Bellini

Image: The Feast of the Gods by Giovanni Bellini and Titian (c. 1514/1529). Oil on Canvas.

Last week, we highlighted a painting not on display at the National Gallery (though it is apparently on tour in Chicago right now!).  This week, we turn our attention to a painting that is too treasured not to be shown.  Giovanni Bellini painted The Feast of the Gods for Duke Alfonso d’Este.  It was intended for the camerino d’alabastro (alabaster study) of the Duke’s castle in Ferrara.

According to the NGA website:

“In this illustration of a scene from Ovid’s Fasti, the gods, with Jupiter, Neptune, and Apollo among them, revel in a wooded pastoral setting, eating and drinking, attended by nymphs and satyrs. According to the tale, the lustful Priapus, god of fertility, stealthily lifts the gown of the sleeping nymph Lotis, as seen in the painting. A moment later, he will be foiled by the braying of Silenus’ ass and the assembled deities will laugh at Priapus’ misadventure.”

The site claims that it is “one of the greatest Renaissance paintings in the United States.”

Later, the Duke requested revisions to the work.  The most significant was by another Venetian master Titian.  He re-did the background, including the hill and foliage on the left.  Titian did not disturb the central image of the feast.

The painting was donated by the Wideners in 1942.

Once you’re done at the museum and thinking about dinner, we can help you find a great place to eat.  There are 200+ recommended restaurants in our dining guide.  You can search by neighborhood, cuisine, and rating on our LIST.  The same information is displayed in MAP format too.  Look around the site.  If you like what you find, tell your friends!