• The Virgin and the Child in a Landscape

    Artist:
    Giorgione (Giorgio Barbarelli da Castelfranco). 1478(?)-1510
    Technique:
    oil
    Dimensions:
    44x36,5 cm

Giorgione (Giorgio Barbarelli da Castelfranco). 1478(?)-1510

The Virgin and the Child in a Landscape

Italy, circa 1503

The period of the High Renaissance in Venice began with Giorgio da Castelfranco, who has gone down in history under his nickname – Giorgione. This brilliant painter died of the plague at the age of just 32 without managing to realize his full potential. He nonetheless left an indelible mark in art. His few surviving works are rare gems in the collections of some of the world’s greatest museums. The Hermitage can boast two paintings by the master. The small Madonna and Child is one of the artist’s early works. Depictions of this kind were as a rule intended for private chapels, where the intimacy and lyricism evident in the image of the Virgin Mary here were appropriate. Mary’s modest charm and the fleeting, involuntary nature of the gesture with which she supports the head of her child, who has turned awkwardly, are manifestations of the immediacy in the perception and presentation of the world that were a mark of Giorgione. Neither in the figures nor in the setting is there strict balance. On the other hand, thanks to the diagonals of the pathways and slopes, the rises and falls of the terrain, the landscape acquires a vivid sense of mobility, coming right up to the figures and embracing them on all sides. The golden tone that seems to be a component of each of the paints and the slight vibration in the picture’s surface heighten the sense of unity between human being and nature and anticipate the advances that Venetian artists would make in the use of colour.

School:

Title:

The Virgin and the Child in a Landscape

Place:

Date:

Material:

Technique:

oil

Dimensions:

44x36,5 cm

Acquisition date:

Entered the Hermitage in 1817; purchased from the A. Creighton collection in St Petersburg

Inventory Number:

ГЭ-185

Category:

Collection:

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