The dawn of the 16th century in Venice must have been an exciting thing to behold. Albrecht Dürer, Leonardo da Vinci, and other Renaissance greats were passing through and imparting their influence on a new generation of artists that would revolutionize the city’s art. This story — along with many of the city’s greatest artists — is the subject of a magnetic exhibition.
During the 1490s in Venice, Giovanni Bellini was the leading artist, his family long established as one of the top artistic pedigrees. By the dawn of the 16th century, the atmosphere was evolving — much in the same way that all art in Italy was in constant evolution and flux during this time. The Royal Academy of Art in London will open a major exhibition this week, on March 12, that explores Venetian art during the age of Giorgione, a pupil of Bellini’s who is perhaps the city’s most mysterious painter, given his untimely demise.

Giorgione, “Portrait of a Man (Terris Portrait),” 1506, oil on panel, 30.2 x 25.7 cm. (c) The San Diego Museum of Art 2016

“In the Age of Giorgione” will “seek to unravel the complex web of influences that shaped the work of many of the most celebrated names in Renaissance art” the museum suggests. “Masterpieces by Giorgione will be displayed side by side with works by Giovanni Bellini, Albrecht Dürer, Titian, Sebastiano del Piombo, Lorenzo Lotto, and many others.

Giovanni Bellini, “Portrait of a Man,” circa 1505, oil on panel, 43.8 x 35.2 cm.
(c) The Royal Collection, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 2016

“Together these important works chart the development of the idealized beauty, expressive force and sensuous use of color that we recognize today as the hallmarks of Venetian Renaissance painting. Through portraiture, religious paintings and the nascent genre of landscapes, witness a rapid revolution in style as it unfolds in a city on the cusp of its golden age.”

Giorgione, “Il Tramonto,” circa 1502–1505, oil on panel, 73.3 x 91.4 cm. (c) National Gallery, London 2016

“In the Age of Giorgione” opens on March 12 and will be on view through June 5. To learn more, visit The Royal Academy of Art.
This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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