Venice, Jacopo had been a pupil of
Gentile da Fabriano. In 1411–1412 he was in
Foligno, where with Gentile he worked at the
Palazzo Trinci frescoes. In 1423 Bellini was in
Florence, where he knew the new works by
Masolino da Panicale and
Masaccio. In 1424 he opened a workshop in Venice, which he ran right up until his death.
Many of his greatest works, including the enormous Crucifixion in the
cathedral of Verona (1436), have disappeared. From c. 1430 is the panel with Madonna and Child, in the
Accademia Carrara, once attributed to Gentile da Fabriano. In 1441, at
Ferrara, where he was at the service of
Leonello d'Este together with
Leon Battista Alberti, he executed a portrait of that Marquess, now lost. Of this period the Madonna dell'Umiltà, probably commissioned by one of the brothers of Leonello.
The influence from
Masolino da Panicale towards more modern, early
Renaissance themes is visible in the Madonna with Child (dated 1448) in the
Pinacoteca di Brera: for the first time, perspective is present and the figure are more monumental. Later he contributed with works now lost to the Venetian churches of
San Giovanni Evangelista (1452) and
St. Mark (1466). From 1459 is a Madonna with Blessing Child in the
Later he sojourned in
Padua, where he trained a young
Andrea Mantegna in perspective and classicist themes and where, in 1460, he finished a portrait of
Erasmo Gattamelata, now lost. Of his late phase, a ruined Crucifix in the Museum of Verona and an Annunciation in the church of
Giovanni Fontana showed Bellini a treatise on perspective.