Italian Renaissance painter. Active in Venice, he created the Renaissance poetic landscape, with its rich colours, soft forms, and gentle sense of intimacy. An example is his Sleeping Venus (about 1510; Gemäldegalerie, Dresden), a work that was probably completed by Titian.
In its symmetrical composition and crisp style, his Castelfranco Altarpiece is related to the work of Bellini (his teacher) and may well be early. But otherwise Giorgione may be regarded as an innovator in the development of the oil technique, in rich and warm colour and in a type of painting independent of a particular position or function. A poetical and enigmatic beauty seems personal to him, and is clearly apparent in The Tempest (1508), a dreamlike painting in which impassive figures are set against the background of an approaching electric storm – its significance lies more in its mood that its subject.
Apart from the Sleeping Venus, only four other pictures are generally accepted as unquestionably his: the Castelfranco Altarpiece (sometimes known as the Madonna and Child Enthroned with Two Saints), in the cathedral of Castelfranco; The Three Philosophers, the Portrait of a Lady (both Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna); and The Tempest (or Storm) (Accademia, Venice). Though he produced very few works during a short career, his work greatly influenced Titian and other Venetian painters.
Giorgio Barbarelli, ‘il maistro Zorzi da Castelfranco’, called Giorgione after his death, seems to have been the pupil of Giovanni Bellini in Venice, together with Titian, and to have achieved early success there. In 1500, at the age of 23, he was chosen to paint portraits of the Doge Agostino Barberigo and the condottiere (hired soldier) Consalvo Ferrante. He decorated the facades of several Venetian palaces, working with Titian on that of the Fondaco dei Tedeschi when it was rebuilt in 1504. The historian Giorgio Vasari speaks of Sebastiano del Piombo and Titian as his ‘disciples’, and it is supposed that the Sleeping Venus, most probably one of Giorgione's last works, was finished by Titian, though the precise relation of their art is still a matter of debate. Giorgione died of the plague in 1510.
Other works probably by Giorgione include Judith (Hermitage, St Petersburg); Portrait of a Young Man (Staatliche Museen, Berlin); Madonna with Saints (Prado, Madrid); Christ and the Adulteress (Glasgow Art Gallery); Concert champêtre (Louvre, Paris); and Concert (Pitti, Florence).
Giorgione, da Castelfranco The Tempest
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