For much of history Venice has been associated the arts, culture and trade. In the late 15th Century the Venetian art scene was highly influential and began to develop a very specific style, which we now call the Venetian School. This style, which had never been seen before and was considered revolutionary at the time, was sensual, poetic and colourful. It is now credited with changing the course of European Art.
A key artist of the time was Giorgione and whilst the name Giorgione probably means very little to most people, he is believed to have been one of the cornerstones of the movement that we now recognise as the Venetian school of Renaissance painting. This spring the Royal Academy of the Arts in London has dedicated their Sackler Gallery to exploring his works and this influential moment in art history.
The works of Giorgione are rare and many can not travel. So his influence and the beginnings of the innovations that marked the new era of Venetian art are explored through the work of the artists who were in his circle at the time such as Bellini, Durer, Titian, Cariani and Sebastiano del Piombo, as well as his own. Together these works map out the development of the key characteristics that we associate with Venetian Renaissance paintings. We see how these artists start to introduce the idea of capturing a sitter’s mood in their portraits. Symbolic objects are included in the paintings to try to conveyed the emotional state of the individual, not just their physical attributes. We also see the introduction of landscapes. In the early sixteenth century landscapes did not exist as a genre. Yet, here we see their introduction into portrait painting, initially they are backdrops then they gradually become more prominent in the works until they start to have a direct relationship with the key figures of the painting, as in the Myth of the Birth and Death of Adonis, which is on show in the exhibition.
The exhibition is small but packs a powerful punch and it has been perfectly curated to show how this little known period of art history came to shape the work of some of the most famous names in Renaissance art.
‘In the age of Giorgione’ is showing at the Royal Academy of Art in London until the 5th June 2016. For more information and tickets visit: www.royalacademy.org.uk