Giorgio Giorgione

Giorgio Giorgione

Giorgio Giorgione
Giorgio Barbarelli (Giorgione)
c.1477 - 1510

Place of Birth: Castelfranco, the Veneto region
Where Giorgione Worked: Venice
Type of Art: Oil painting
Most Famous Artworks: The Tempest, The Sleeping Venus

Biography of Giorgione

Page Symbol for Artist pagesGiorgio Barbarelli, called 'Giorgione' ('Big George'), was born in the small town of Castelfranco Veneto, near Venice. It is not known exactly when he moved to Venice, but he was in the city by the time he was a young man. It is generally believed that he apprenticed under the Venetian master, Giovanni Bellini. It was in Venice that he stayed and in Venice he became famous.

At the beginning of his career he painted several portraits; in 1504 he was commissioned to paint an altarpiece in the Cathedral of Castelfranco, dedicated to the memory of Matteo Costanzo. He also did some exterior fresco work on the Fondaco dei Tedeschi, the Casa Soranzo and several other Venetian palaces. Unfortunately very little of these works survive.

It is undeniable that Giorgione was greatly influenced by Bellini but he was to improve on this style by using greater monumentality, seriousness and lyricism. He used many layers of color to envelop the characters in a sort of haze.

Giorgione is thought to be the first painter to use landscapes in his paintings. He was able to make the characters and the landscapes complement each other. One of the ways he did this was to use gradual changes in the color shades to express light and perspective.

Unfortunately, not much of his work currently remains. In part, this is because he never signed his work and dated only one piece. Also, much of his fresco work was on the exteriors of palaces and very little of these pieces have survived.

Giorgione died of the plague at the young age of 33, in October 1510. Although he was young, he greatly influenced several artists. They include: Titian, Sebastiano del Piombo, Palma Vecchio, Dosso Dossi, Giulio Campagnola, and Tintoretto. His legacy was a new method of painting subjects that did not have a religious meaning, but rather expressed a mood or romantic feeling. He is known to be the first Renaissance artist to use color to create warmth and luminosity.

Artwork of Giorgio Giorgione
(To see a larger version of the artwork below, just click on the picture)

Giorgio Giorgione's "The Tempest"

The Tempest

This piece was painted between 1506 and 1508 and was originally commissioned by a Venetian nobleman, Gabriele Vendramin. It has been altered by the artist...where there is now a young man, he originally painted another female nude. This has been verified by x-ray imaging. It now resides in the Accademia Gallery, Venice.

Giorgio Giorgione's "Madonna And Child Between St. Francis and St. Nicasius

Madonna and Child Between St. Francis and St. Nicasius

This piece was painted c.1503. It has had a very colorful past after being restored badly several times, stolen in 1972 and ultimately recovered. It had a final proper restoration and now resides in the Cathedral of Castelfranco Veneto.
It was originally commissioned by Tuzio Costanzo, in memory of his son, Matteo.

Giorgio Giorgione's The Three Philosophers"

The Three Philosophers

This piece was completed c.1509 by Sebastiano del Piombo. The work was commissioned by a Venetian nobleman, Taddeo Contarini, who was a merchant interested in both the arts and alchemy. The painting now hangs in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.

Giorgio Giorgione's "Adoration of the Shepherds"

Adoration of the Shepherds

This piece was painted c.1500 and is another work that has been attributed to more than one artist. It is felt that some of it was painted by Titian, but that it was finished by Giorgione. It now resides at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.

Giorgio Giorgione's The Test of Fire of Moses"

The Test of Fire of Moses

This piece was painted c.1500-1501. It is felt that this represents a story from the Talmud, so that it was probably commissioned by a person that did not strictly follow the Roman Catholic positions. It now resides in the Uffizi in Florence.

Giorgio Giorgione's "The Judgement of Salomon"

The Judgement of Solomon

This piece was painted in 1500-1501. This shows some similarities, in both dimension and theme, to The Test of Fire of Moses. It is now housed in the Uffizi in Florence.

Giorgio Giorgione's "The Sleeping Venus"

The Sleeping Venus

This piece was painted in 1510. Giorgione died before it was completed, so Titian finished the work by adding the landscape and the sky portions to the painting. In this painting, Giorgione marries nature and beauty, which is a common theme in his works.

Now housed in the Gemaldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden, Germany.

Portraits by Giorgione

Several of these portraits were not originally thought to be done by Giorgione because he didn't sign his paintings, but after much study, the above portraits have been credited to him.


Page symbol for Artist pagesWhere Giorgione's Artwork is Displayed

You will find Giorgione's artwork at the following museums:

- Accademia Gallery, Venice
- Cathedral, Castelfranco Veneto, Italy
- Uffizi Gallery, Florence
- Borghese Gallery, Rome
- Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia
- Louvre, Paris
- Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden, Germany
- Alte Pinakothek, Munich
- Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna
- Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest,
- National Gallery, Washington DC

Page symbol for Artist pagesTrivia About Giorgio Giorgione:

- Giorgione revolutionized a new form of painting of the time, known as pittura sanza disegno (painting without drawing). A student of Giorgione, Titian, was to become a huge exponent of this style.

Giorgio Giorgione - THE  BORGIAS   wiki .........

- Many of Giorgione's masterpieces were actually finished by other artists. This is probably why, for many years, some were thought to have been completely painted by other artists.

- Giorgione is sometimes referred to as Zorzo.

- In 1500, Leonardo da Vinci visited Venice; he had a significant influence on Giorgione's work.

Leonardo da Vinci
.Leonardo da Vinci

- Giorgio Vasari also wrote about Giorgione's life and career.

Giorgio Vasari
...Giorgio Vasari

- After Giorgione's death, Titian finished The Sleeping Venus in 1510. Titian was later to paint his own version,Venus of Urbino, which is quite similar.

Giorgio Giorgione - THE  BORGIAS   wiki
.Titian's Venus of Urbino

- Giorgione never signed any of his paintings, and only dated one, Laura. For this reason, many of his portraits required much examination and deliberation before they were ultimately authenticated as his own work.

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