* 1477 Castelfranco Veneto
† 1510 Venedig
Giorgione, who was, next to Giovanni Bellini and Titian, a leading figure of the heydays of Venetian Renaissance, was born at Castelfranco Veneto, presumably in 1477 or 1478. Life and work of the early deceased artist, who is rumored to many affairs, has remained legend and mystery up until today. Only few of his outstanding works have survived and little is known about his short life.
According to Vasari, Giorgione (Giorgio da Castelfranco) served an apprenticeship with none lesser than Giovanni Bellini. His influence left clear traces in Giorgione’s small oeuvre, even though there is no clear proof for the apprenticeship. It is certain, however, that Giorgione’s (Giorgio da Castelfranco) works that have survived count among the highlights of art history: In the field of portrait painting Giorgione (Giorgio da Castelfranco) had made great accomplishments, for instance with the enigmatic portrait of a so-called Laura, which is in possession of the Kunsthistorische Museum Vienna (around 1506). Giorgione (Giorgio da Castelfranco) introduced a new form of the "Sacra Conversazione" in front of landscape backgrounds with the profound "Castelfranco Madonna" (Madonna and Child Between St. Francis and St. Nicasius) in 1504, which he made for the cathedral in his hometown Castelfranco Veneto. The most famous painting by Giorgiones is "La Tempesta" at the Galleria dell´Accademia, Venice, around 1506/08). The work, which has become synonymous for the "Giorgione mystery", counts among the most enigmatic paintings of art history and caused some highly speculative attempts of interpretation.
As far as his style is concerned, Giorgione’s (Giorgio da Castelfranco) art is of remarkable quality: His soft, subdued shading style in combination with a vibrating and shimmering light creates a striking closeness to life, lyrical reverie and density that is often described as "atmospherical". The fact that Giorgione (at least according to Vasari) did not make drawings for his painterly approach, an approach that was guiding for Venetian 16th century painting, makes sense.
Giorgione’s fame would soon be so great that numerous reproductions and counterfeits were made in the 16th and especially 17th century. The artist died of plague before 25 October, 1510, his life became a myth soon after.