Venetian School. Zorzo, of Castelfranco, called Giorgione, and in later times Barbarelli, pupil of Giovanni Bellini. ” His capital achievement was the invention of the modern spirit of lyrical passion and romance in pictorial art; and his magic charm has never been equalled.” (National Gallery Catalogue.) Many pictures formerly attributed to him are now accounted the work of his imitators; and besides those noticed below, +he only undoubted examples of his work in European galleries are the early Ordeal of Moses and Judgment of Solomon at the Uffizi, Florence; Judith at the Hermitage, Petrograd; and a bust portrait of a youth at Berlin (No. 12A).
LONDON, NATIONAL GALLERY
A KNIGHT IN ARMOUR A little full-length figure, completely armed, except the head, which is full face, while the body is three-quarters to the right. The lance is held in the left hand with the butt resting on the ground. The chief interest attaching to this painting is that it is almost identical with the large figure of San Liberale in the altar-piece at Castelfranco.
Probably identical with ” Giorgione. A little piece of a man in armour ” in the Duke of Buckingham’s catalogue.
THE WOMAN TAKEN IN ADULTERY See Cariani.
CONCERT CHAMPTRE In the foreground of a wooded summer landscape are seated on the grass two youths side by side, the one on the left playing a lute, and in front of them, to our right, and with her back to us, is a woman holding a flute. To the left another woman stands facing us, her left hand on the ledge of a stone cistern, from which with her right she is filling a glass. The men are richly dressed in the Venetian costume of the period; the women nude, save for a slight drapery that has fallen round the knees of the one standing.
FLORENCE, PITTI GALLERY
THE CONCERT ” One of the simplest arrangements of half lengths which it is possible to conceive; movement, gesture, and expression tell an entire tale. A monk of the Order of the Augustinians sits at a harpsichord with his fingers on the keys (to the left). The chord he strikes is true, for the two bystanders (on either side) hear its vibration with silent complacency. It is probably that which they hoped to hear, for the monk turns triumphantly to ask, ` Is it not so ?’ His face and glance, the play of his features, are all inquiry; the bald, bareheaded clerk behind him (to the right) touches the shoulder of the monk, grasps the handle of his viol, and assents. To the left a young man with long hair and plumed hat gives token of pleasure and acquiescence. No simpler yet no more effective picture than this is to be found amongst the masterpieces of the sixteenth century.”(C. and C.)
The opinion now prevails that this famous picture is an early work of Titian influenced by Giorgione.
THE VIRGIN BETWEEN ST. ANTHONY AND ST. ROCH. Catalogued as Asunto Mistico, this picture is quite unlike the conventional Virgin between Saints. It is oblong, and the three figures are separate, their heads reaching nearly to the top of the canvas. The scene is a terrace, at the back of which on a very slightly raised ledge the Virgin in a voluminous mantle is seated in front of a plain wall, which is only relieved by a narrow strip of brocade in the centre. The Child stands on His mother’s left knee, and is looking at St. Anthony, who stands on the left side of the picture, his joined hands concealed in the sleeve of his monk’s habit, and his glance directed downwards. On the right St. Roch stands, with his head in profile, regarding the Child. He is dressed in a short cloak, a doublet over a white shirt, and hose. He stands leaning forward with his right foot on a lump of rock, his right hand grasping a long staff, and his left drawing aside his shirt, showing his right thigh and knee bare.
This picture is still catalogued under the name of Pordenone, but modern critics agree in assigning it to Giorgione.
THE THREE PHILOSOPHERS On the topmost of three shallow ledges of rock in the foreground a young man in a white shirt, yellow vest, and green mantle is sitting, in profile to left, looking slightly upwards. He is holding a straight edge in his left and calipers in his right hand. Nearer to us on the right stands an older man full face in a long mantle and a turban, his right-hand thumb stuck in his girdle. Next to him, on the extreme right, is an old man with a long beard in a ruby-coloured hood and amber mantle, nearly in profile, holding a tablet inscribed with astronomical figures in both hands. Between a high dark rock which shuts in the left side of the picture and some large bare tree trunks rising immediately behind the young man, is seen a village in a valley, over which the sun is setting. On the right, behind the two others, are trees in leaf.
Various suggestions have been made as to the subject of this picture, but nothing is known of it except that it was called The Three Philosophers by ” the Anonimo.”
THE BRAVO (see Cariani)
VENUS A full-length nude figure of a woman lying asleep with her head slightly raised against a mass of rock on the left, her right arm bent above her head, her left lying along her body. Her right leg is bent under the left, but not so as to show the foot beyond. Her head is turned towards us, the hair parted in the middle. Under her shoulders is spread a coloured mantle, while the folds of a white sheet cover the grass in the foreground. The landscape recedes to the sea in the centre, while on the right is a hill with buildings on it.
According tot”‘ the Anonimo,” who saw the picture in 1525 in the house of Girolamo Marcello at Venice, there was a figure of Cupid at the feet of the goddess which, with the landscape, was put in by Titian.