Giovanni Battista Cima da Conegliano

Dates(Venetian), about 1459/1460 ? - 1517/1518
BornConegliano, Treviso, Italy
DiedConegliano or Venice, Italy

Giovanni Battista Cima da Conegliano's name announces his background: his family were cimatori, or cloth-shearers, in Conegliano on the Venetian mainland. He always worked in Venice, but he maintained close links with his hometown. The local countryside appears in many of the backgrounds of his painting, and its villages were important sources of his patronage.

Cima probably arrived in Venice by the mid-1480s. Exactly where he trained is uncertain, but Giovanni Bellini's art influenced him early and for life. Cima changed his style little during his career. His pictures feature a refined sense of surface detail, statuesque figures, and a calm, meditative mood. Sharply directed light defines crisp landscapes and architectural settings. Cima repeated heads, figures, and landscape motifs in many paintings, yet each picture was the product of numerous preparatory drawings.

By the 1490s, when Bellini was decorating the Doge's Palace, Cima became Venice's leading altarpiece painter. Along with altarpieces, his large workshop produced numerous half-length paintings of the Virgin and Child. He also painted a few mythological subjects, all apparently decorations for cassonior other furniture.