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 Giorgio Da Castelfranco  (1477 - 1510)

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Lived/Active: Italy      Known for: painting

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Giorgio Barbarelli Giorgione is primarily known as Giorgio Da Castelfranco

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

One of the most remarkable painters of history was Giorgio da Castelfranco, called Giorgione.   He was called Big George by his contemporaries.  He was born about 1477 or 1478 in a picturesque old city of humble origin, the son of a peasant.  

As a boy Giorgione came to Venice and studied painting in the studio of Giovanni Bellini.  He was noted for his personal beauty and his musical tastes and was a welcome guest in distinguished circles   

Only a handful of pictures can certainly be identified as his work, although many are attributed to him.  In any case, his influence on the development of Venetian painting in the beginning of the 16th century seems to have been tremendous.  The work of the most distinguished Venetian painters of his day, including that of Titian, Palma and Lotto, show evidence of this influence. 

Many details about Giorgione’s life are in doubt.  His birth date is unknown; no copy of his autograph is known to exist and none of his paintings were signed.  Leading art critics can get together on only eight paintings as definitely Giorgione’s.  A new style of painting, dedicated to exploring the effects of light in Venice, grew up in that city of canals.  It is first seen in the work of Giorgione, but he died at the age of only  thirty-two in 1510, and Titian, who was a co-worker, developed his methods to the full.  Many paintings have been taken to be the work of both men.   

Written and compiled by Jean Ershler Schatz, artist and researcher from Laguna Woods, California.

Sources include:   
Metropolitan Museum of Art Miniatures; Paintings from the Hapsburg Collection  
The Standard Treasury of the World's Great Paintings   
Time Magazine, September 12, 1955

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Little information has been found about this artist who did religious and portrait subjects.  He was born in Castelfranco, and died from the plague at age 34.  He is credited with changing "the entire course of sixteenth-century Venetian painting" ( because he injected emotion and a sense of spiritual elevation into his paintings by the use of rich warm colors, shadows and reflections, and transparent glazes with filtered light.  His paintings, described as tonalist, established in western painting "a wholly new vision, a more intimate linke between man and nature." (Fortis).   With their modulation of light and unique coloration, they conveyed a sense of maturity and special sensitivity, unusual for someone as young as he was at the time of their creation. 

Only sixteen paintings by Giorgione have been identified, but many of his works were signed by Titian, who worked with Giorgione and finished paintings after Giorgione's death.  Other works, such as exterior frescoes in Venice on the Fondaco dei Tedeschi, were destroyed by weather.


Umberto Fortis, The Uffizi: A Guide to the Gallery,

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