Portrait of Joerg Fugger
Giovanni Bellini (Italian, c.1430-1516)
On View

Joerg Fugger, the heir of a wealthy German banking family, was born in Augsburg in 1453. Depicted here at age 21, he wears in his hair a garland of small blue blossoms, which designates him as a student of ancient learning. This portrait is notable on several accounts: it is the first known portrait by Giovanni Bellini, the greatest Venetian painter of the early Italian Renaissance. It is also one of the first paintings by an Italian artist executed in oil rather than tempera. Further, the portrait’s objective realism departs from the stiff, stylized, late-Gothic tradition of portraiture that then prevailed in Venice.

Bellini’s compositional and stylistic innovations can be traced to a variety of local Italian sources, including his brother-in-law, Andrea Mantegna, and his father, Jacopo. He also demonstrates an awareness of the work of a Southern Italian painter, Antonello da Messina, who was himself present in Venice in the mid-1470s. It is unclear whether this latter artist’s work informed Bellini directly, or whether both drew from Northern European influences that were already present in Italy by the mid-fifteenth century. Works by Rogier van der Weyden, Hugo van der Goes, Jan van Eyck, Petrus Christus, Dieric Bouts and Hans Memling were certainly commissioned by Italian patrons and were readily available to Bellini, who, especially in his portraiture, emulated the three-quarter rather than profile view, set against a neutral background or later alla fiamminga, that is, “in the Flemish style,” with sky and landscape. Bellini’s portrait of the young Fugger, who resided in Venice in 1474, when this panel was commissioned, marks the seminal moment that would inform portrait painting, as well as devotional images, in Italy for the next generation of artists such as Raphael, Leonardo, and Fra Bartolomeo who followed in his creative wake.

Until a restoration of the panel was undertaken in the early 20th century, the back of the painting bore this inscription, written in a Venetian dialect: Jeorg Fugger a di XX di Zugno MCCCCLXXIIII [Jeorg Fugger on this day of 20 June 1474].


  • Artist Name: Giovanni Bellini (Italian, c.1430-1516)
  • Title: Portrait of Joerg Fugger
  • Date: 1474
  • Medium: Oil on panel
  • Dimensions: 10-1/4 x 7-7/8 in. (26 x 20 cm)
  • Credit Line: Norton Simon Art Foundation
  • Accession Number: M.1969.13.P
  • Copyright: © Norton Simon Art Foundation

Object Information

Johannes, Count of Fugger-Oberkirchberg, Castle Oberkirchberg, Ulm.
Walter C. Schnackenberg, Munich and Monaco, until Dec. 10, 1926 when sold to;
[F. Kleinberger and Co., New York (stock no. 15773) and Paris, 1926 – sold May 17, 1928 for $40,000 to];
Conte Alessandro Contini-Bonacossi, Florence, by inheritance to;
Heirs of the Contini-Bonacossi Estate, Florence, by inheritance to;
[Lorenzo Papi, Florence];
Norton Simon Art Foundation.

Exhibition of Italian Art, 1200-1900

  • Burlington House (London, England), 1930-01-01 to 1930-03-08

Giovanni Bellini

  • Venice, Palazzo Ducale, 1949-06-12 to 1949-10-05

[on loan]

  • Princeton University Art Museum, 1972-11-30 to

[on loan]

  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1970-01-05 to

[on loan]

  • Fogg Art Museum, 1969-05-16 to

The Golden Century of Venetian Painting

  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1979-10-30 to 1980-01-27

[on loan]

  • New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1980-12-16 to

[on loan]

  • Detroit Institute of Arts, 1974-11-01 to

Selections from the Norton Simon, Inc. Museum of Art

  • Princeton University Art Museum, 1972-12-03 to 1974-07-17
  • Goffen, Rona, Giovanni Bellini, figs. 150-151 pp. 121, 197, 200-202, 204-205, 217, 222, 259, 287, 298, 318
  • Fletcher, J., The Burlington Magazine, p. 779
  • Hadeln, D. von, The Burlington Magazine, p. 4
  • Gamba, Carlo, Giovanni Bellini, p. 72
  • Tempestini, Anchise, Giovanni Bellini, no. 26 pp. 29, 64, 70, 201, 211
  • Hendy, P; and L. Goldscheider, Giovanni Bellini, p. 27
  • Pallucchini, R., Giovanni Bellini, pp. 60-61, 138
  • Fiocco, G., Giovanni Bellini, p. 14
  • Robertson, G., Giovanni Bellini, pp. 58, 106-107
  • Gendel, M., Art News, p. 23
  • Art News, p. 26
  • Sutton, D., Apollo, p. 380
  • Gronau, G., Giovanni Bellini, Des Meisters Gemälde, 1930, p. xxii
  • A Commemorative Catalgoue of the Exhibition of Italian Art held in the Galleries of the Royal Academy, Burlington House, London, January-March 1930, 1931, no. 167
  • Marle, R. van, The Development of the Italian Schools of Painting, 1937, p. 254
  • Lill, G., Fuggerorum et Fuggerarum Imagines, 1938,
  • Schmeckebier, L., A Handbook of Italian Renaissance Painting, 1938, p. 189
  • Moschini, V., Giambellino, 1943, pp. 23, 40
  • Lieb, N., Die Fugger und Die Kunst, 1952, fig. 12 pp. 30-31, 326-327
  • Berenson, Bernard, Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: Venetian School, 1957, p. 31
  • DeWald, E., Italian Paintings (1200-1600), 1961, p. 466
  • Pigler, A., Bulletin du Museé National Hongrois des Beau-Arts, 1961, no. 19 p. 40
  • Heinemann, F., Giovanni Bellini e i Belliniani, 1962, no. 269 p. 75; p. 158
  • Bottari, S., Tutta la pittura di Giovanni Bellini, 1963, pp. 36-37
  • Pope-Hennessy, John, The Portrait in the Renaissance, 1966, pp. 63, 311
  • Pignatti, T., L'opera completa di Giovanni Bellini, 1969, p. 94
  • Morse, John D., Old Master Paintings in North America, 1979, p. 15
  • Goffen, Rona, Small Paintings of the Masters, 1981,
  • Italian Paintings XIV-XVIIth Centuries: from the collection of the Baltimore Museum of Art, 1981, no. 11 pp. 131, 143
  • Brizio, A., Arte Veneta, 1986, pp. 32-33
  • Beck, James, Perspectives, 1988, nos. 53-56 pp. 278-280
  • De' Giorgio, Elsa, L'eredità Contini Bonacossi: L'ambiguo rigore del vero, 1988, pp. 344-345
  • Masterpieces from the Norton Simon Museum, 1989, p. 29
  • Tempestini, Anchise, Giovanni Bellini: Catalogo completo di dipinti, 1992, no. 24 pp. 80, 81, 158
  • Hills, P., Venedig und Oberdeutchland in der Renaissance: Beziehungen zwischen Kunst und Wirtschaft, 1993, fig. 1 pp. 123-124, 129
  • Caroselli, Susan L., Italian Panel Painting of the Early Renaissance in the Collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1994, fig. 13 pp. 18-19
  • Humphrey, Peter, Painting in Renaissance Venice, 1995, fig. 76 p. 102
  • Luchinat, Cristina Acidini; Luciano Bellosi, Miklxós Boskovits, Pier Paolo Donati, Bruno Santi, Scritti per L'istituto Germanico di Storia dell'arte di Firenze, 1997, p. 199
  • Düssler, L., Giovanni Bellini, 1999, pp. 44, 92
  • Renaissance Venice and the North: Crosscurrents in the Time of Bellini, Dürer, and Titian, 2000, p. 121, 337
  • Humfrey, Peter, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Giovanni Bellini, 2002, pp. 15, 80, 203
  • Boskovitis, Miklos, Brown, David Alan, et al., Italian Paintings of the Fifteenth Century, 2003, p. 52, 54
  • Mayer, August L., The Burlington Magazine, 2004, p. 219
  • Humfrey, Peter, ed., Artistic Centers of the Italian Renaissance: Venice and the Veneto, 2007, fig. 241 p. 337
  • Lucco, Mauro, Giovanni Bellini, 2008, pp. 77-82, and footnotes
  • Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best, 2010, cat. 584 p. 515
  • Renato Miracco, Italian Treasures in the U.S. An Itinerary of Art, 2014, p. #40
  • Elizabeth Perkins, Examining Giovanni Bellini: An Art 'More Human and More Divine', 2015, pp. 131, 138 (no. 2), and footnotes
  • Han Belting, Keith Christiansen, et. al., Giovanni Bellini: Landscapes of Faith in Renaissance Venice, 2017, p. 48
  • Simone Facchinetti and Arturo Galansino, Paris Bordon 1500-1571: Pittore divino, 2022, Fig. 29 p. 71, 74, 76 (ill.)
  • Dr. Andreas Schumacher (Ed.), Venezia 500. The Gentle Revolution of Venetian Painting, 2023, Fig. 1 pp. 204-209, p. 207 (ill.)
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