Mary Pardo, 2023. "Revisiting “lontani et altra fantaxia”: An Eyckian Perspective on Giovanni Bellini and Jacopo de’ Barbari", A View of Venice: Portrait of a Renaissance City, Kristin Love Huffman
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Chapter 10 revisits textual and visual evidence for the art critical connotations of the term lontani (distances), which in the years around 1500 was used as a supplement, and sometimes near-synonym, for paesi (countrysides)—a term we now translate as “landscapes.” In Isabella d’Este’s much-cited correspondences with her Venetian agents, lontani were associated with Giovanni Bellini’s special gifts as a painter. This essay considers lontani as a specifically “Eyckian” legacy and argues that the term’s use correlates with the survival of Jan van Eyck’s pictorial strategies and the memory of specific Eyckian novelties into the late fifteenth century. This is attested by works such as Jacopo de’ Barbari’s dazzling variation on the bird’s-eye city portrait. In this connection, the essay probes into the relationship between Bellini’s approach to lontani and the Eyckian prototypes that are usually cited as sources for Bellini’s topographical inventions.