ALTHOUGH not so profound nor so richly endowed with creative power as Giorgione or Titian, Palma Vecchio occupies an important place in the history of the Venetian Renaissance, for, if he lacks the lofty genius which in-spired their art, and gives expression in his pictures to more superficial things, he may for that very reason be said to be the portrayer of the joyousness of the Venetians and of their delight in outward existence, and therefore to hold a position during the early part of the sixteenth century similar to that held by Paolo Veronese during the latter part of the same period.
The superficiality of Palma’s artistic nature is manifested in the first place by his careless drawing, which shows the absence of any firm anatomical construction of the figure. Without the gift of dramatic composition, he excels in his representations of peaceful, uneventful existence, and he is full of feeling for that radiant and sumptuous beauty which is embodied for us in his charmingly idealized portraits of women. His colors have less depth than those of his contemporaries, but they are unequaled in their rich and gleaming brilliancy, and seem to exhale the very joy of life. The well-defined forms and hard colors of his early works became, as time went on, constantly broader and freer, his execution became stronger, and finally the outlines were lost in melting softness, and his canvases were suffused in a golden light.