Bello, Marco / The Holy Family with the John the Baptist as a Child and St Roch
The painting of The Holy Family with the John the Baptist as a Child and St Roch is one of the earliest works in the Ostrava gallery’s collection of European painting and was one of the first paintings it acquired. The picture was initially assigned to the circle of Venetian painting of contemporaries and successors of the artistic genius Giovanni Bellini with parallels at the workshop of the Santa Croce family. Jana Hlaváčková attributed the work to Francesco Rizzo da Santa Croce the Elder. Thanks to Anchise Tempestini it was finally, and probably definitively assigned to the body of work of Marco Bello. The subject of the painting is a sacred conversation representing the Virgin Mary with the infant Jesus in close association with other saints. For the new type of sacred conversations the depictions of the saints were reduced to half-figures which were better suited to the dimensions of the works. The Virgin’s pose can be observed in the works of Giovanni Bellini from 1507 for the church of San Francesco della Vigna in Venice. However, a qualitative comparison is unfavourable both as regards Marco Bello and our painting. The painting has been restored several times, most recently at the beginning of our century. Sadly its long history and its exposure in unsuitable conditions, as well as several botched restorations, have caused permanent damage to it.