‘In the Age of Giorgione’. The Venetians take over London

Giovanni Cariani, portrait of a woman
Giovanni Cariani, portrait of a woman

Very little is known about Giorgione and his life is surrounded by mistery, however his works were so powerful that he influenced and transformed the stylistic evolution of Venetian art.

The new exhibition In the Age of Giorgione will open to the public on 12th March 2016 at the Royal Academy of Arts and will gather around 47 works by celebrated artists such as Giorgione, Titian, Giovanni Bellini, Sebastiano del Piombo and Lorenzo Lotto.

Giovanni Bellini (around 1433-1516) revolutionised Venetian painting, but it was the next generation, especially Giorgione and Titian, who laid the foundations for the Golden Age of Venetian Reinassance.

In the Age of Giorgione, a focused survey of the Venetian Reinaissance during the first decade of the 16th century, also considers the influence of Albrecht Dürer, who visited Venice at the beginning of 1500.

Giorgione, who got this nickname because of his height, emerged during the first years of the 16th century and influenced also the young Titian (1480/85-1576), who became the notable artist in Venice following Giorgione’s death.

Giorgione proposed a new, more intimate type of portraiture and painted a bucolic background for any kind of portraits as one of the highlights of the show demonstrates, Portrait of A Young Man, that represents an anonymous sitter gazing directly at the viewer.

Giorgione, Portrait of a Young Man ('Giustiniani Portrait') Oil on canvas,  Gemaldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Preubischer Kulturbesitz Photo (c) Jorg P. Anders

Giorgione, Portrait of a Young Man (‘Giustiniani Portrait’)
Oil on canvas,
Gemaldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Preubischer Kulturbesitz
Photo (c) Jorg P. Anders

The Portrait of a Young Man has divided the experts in the art world but now the Royal Academy leave to the visitors to decide whether Giorgione or Titian produced this painting. You can join the discussion following the Royal Academy of Arts on Twitter using the hashtag #AgeofGiorgione.

Small yet representative, the exhibition  is arranged in four sections (portraits, landscape, devotional works and allegorical portraits) that will allow the visitor to explore the innovation and the impact of the great masters. The allure surrounding Giorgione is just one of the reason to visit the exhibition.

‘It’s a very difficult exhibition’, says curator Arturo Galansino. ‘The problem of Giorgione and Titian attribution has puzzled art historian for many years and we decided to make things clear. Also, we were able to collect 47 works that are real masterpieces, extremely difficult to have in London because they are the highlights of their respective museums. It’s a photograph of an extremely interesting period for Italian art, never organised in London before’.

While Giorgione and Titian represent the Venetian Renaissance, not far from the Royal Academy an exhibition celebrate another Italian master: Botticelli Reimagined has recently been opened at the V&A. Florence vs Venice. ‘There is a link between the two cities’, Galansino continues. ‘After the death of Giorgione, Titian is the master of Venetian painting and he looks at central Italy for inspiration’.
If we want to consider Venice and Florence two rivals in art, who is the winner in the artistic competition?
‘I always go with the beauty’, answers Galansino, who is Director of the Florentine Palazzo Strozzi. ‘My previous works and my books reveal that my heart has often been with the art from the North of Italy. Florence is the home of drawing, Venice is the home of colour. But when we talk of beauty, Florence is the winner’.

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