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artists in venice

Giorgio Barbarella, known as GIORGIONE
(Castelfranco Veneto, Treviso, 1477 - Venezia, 1510)

The Tempest
The Tempest
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La Tempesta is one of the most famous and mysterious paintings by Giorgione, and it can be viewed in Venice at the Gallerie dell'Accademia. This brilliant and revolutionary painter worked in Venice for some years before his death (he was a victim of the plague): in 1508 he worked at the exterior frescos of the Fondaco dei Tedeschi with another great Venetian master, Tiziano.

He portrayed himself as David with the Head of Goliath, (see above: from Herzog Anton-Ulrich Museum, Braunschweig).

His most famous surviving paintings:
  • La Vecchia (Old Woman) (about 1503), Academy Galleries, Venice
  • La Tempesta (The Tempest) (about 1503) Accademy Galleries, Venice
  • Madonna and Child with St. Francis and S. Liberale (about 1505), Cathedral of Castelfranco Veneto
  • Judith (about 1504), Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg Three Magi (about 1506), Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna
  • Sleeping Venus (about 1507), Gemaeldegallerie Alte Meister, Dresden Gallery, Dresden
The Story of Art
by E.H. Gombrich

  "Very little is known of this artist; scarcely five paintings can be ascribed with absolute certainty to his hand. Yet these suffice to secure him a fame nearly as great as that of the great leaders of the new movement. Strangely enough, even these pictures contain something of a puzzle. We are not sure what the most accomplished one, The Tempest, represents; it may be a scene from some classical writer or an imitator of the classics. For Venetian artists of the period had awakened to the charm of the Greek poets and what they stood for. (...). One day the episode here illustrated may be identified - the story, perhaps, of a mother of some future hero, who was cast out of the city into the wilderness with her child and was there discovered by a friendly young shepherd. For this, it seems, is what Giorgione wanted to represent. But it is not due to its content that the picture is one of the most wonderful things in art. That this is so may be difficult to see in a scan, but even such an illustration conveys a shadow, at least, of his revolutionary achievement. Though the figures are not particularly carefully drawn, and though the composition is somewhat artless, the picture is clearly blended into a whole simply by the light and air that permeate it all. It is the weird light of a thunderstorm, and for the first time, it seems, the landscape before which the actors of the picture move is not just a background. It is there, by its own right, as the real subject of the painting. In a way, this was almost as big a step forward into a new realm as the invention of perspective had been. From now on, painting was more than drawing plus coloring. It was an art with its own secret laws and devices."

A gallery of paintings by Giorgione:

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