When Giorgione Died: Metaphor-Biography-Art (Hardcover) ~ Elizab... Cover Art

When Giorgione Died: A Rebilungsroman in Two Volumes (Hardcover)

By: Elizabeth K. Smith (Author)

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Short Desription

Giorgione died in
Venice in 1510. Aside from
the year, everything else
about his passing is supposition.
Age? thirty-three, give
or take a few years. Cause of
death? the plague, perhaps.
Similar uncertainty clouds
his career. He was probably,
though not certainly, apprenticed
to Giovanni Bellini. His
oeuvre may consist of six or
sixty paintings. Experts have
never reached consensus.
Mystery is the key
word whenever Giorgione or
his art is discussed. Masterpieces
like the Tempest and
Sleeping Venus are said to
have introduced an element
of poetry into Renaissance
painting. But the poetry is
generally defined so loosely
it has little connection to
actual poetry of any period.
Otherwise, interpretation
falters and lapses into discussion
of enigma and mystery.
In a radical departure
from the authors of
previous monographs on
Giorgione, Elizabeth Smith
accepts mystery as the one
solid truth about the artist.
Instead of rehearsing
unanswerable questions
of meaning or attribution,
she examines the metaphors
that have endowed
Giorgione with an enduring
role in the Renaissance and
its legacy in the nineteenth
and twentieth centuries.
These metaphors
grow from the response to
his death the sudden desire
to own a Giorgione and
the refusal of collectors to
sell paintings they already
owned. Thereafter, the pleasures
and dangers of possessing
became central to art
and writing about Giorgione.
By 1900 he was all but synonymous
with art meant to
be a personal prize; themes
of self-possession and privacy;
the experience of love so
jealous it turns destructive.
Smith s book will be
of interest to students of
literature as well as art historians.
It connects Giorgione
to portrayals of Venice in
Shakespeare among other
artists. Venice too has long
been understood through
mystery and jealous love.

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