My website, MyGiorgione, now includes my interpretations of Giorgione's "Tempest" as "The Rest on the Flight into Egypt"; his "Three Ages of Man" as "The Encounter of Jesus with the Rich Young Man"; Titian's, "Sacred and Profane Love" as "The Conversion of Mary Magdalen"; and Titian's "Pastoral Concert" as his "Homage to Giorgione".

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Giorgione: Portrait of a Young Woman (Laura)

I have argued on this site that Giorgione’s Portrait of a Young Woman, commonly called “Laura” could actually be his version of “The Conversion of Mary Magdalen.” I believe that I am not the first to suggest Mary Magdalen but a number of distinguished catalogs in the past two decades do not even consider the possibility.

Giorgione: Portrait of a Young Woman (Laura)
Oil on canvas, mounted on panel, 51 x 33.6 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

While scholars are unanimous in attributing the Laura to Giorgione, they have not been able to agree on the subject of this painting of a partially nude young woman. Most agree that Laura is a misnomer and that the painting has nothing to do with Petrarch's lover. All do point out the paradoxical iconographic symbols. On one hand, there are the robe and bared breast of a Venetian courtesan, but on the other, there are symbols of chastity and conjugal love such as the laurel leaves and head scarf.

Only one person fits this description and that is Mary Magdalen. This most famous female saint of the Middle Ages was generally regarded in the Renaissance as a prostitute who after her encounter with Jesus became a true and virtuous bride of Christ. After her conversion she is often portrayed with breasts bared.

After I first interpreted Giorgione’s Tempest as “The Rest on the Flight into Egypt,” back in 2005, I began to suspect that some of his other inexplicable or mysterious paintings might actually be sacred subjects. Shortly after I began Giorgione et al… in the fall of 2010, I put up a brief post on the Laura [Giorgione: Laura] that explored the Magdalen interpretation. Three years later I put up a more expansive post that discussed its similarity with other mysterious paintings of beautiful women by Titian. [Giorgione’s Laura,Titian’s Flora, and Mary Magdalen. 8/19/2013.]

Giorgione’s Laura has been recognized as a revolutionary turning point in the development of the art of the Venetian Renaissance. In his magnificent 2009 Giorgione catalog, Enrico dal Pozzolo devoted nine pages to the Laura in a section entitled, “a sense of beauty.” He described the little painting in almost poetic terms.*

Imagined up against an impenetrable, dark background…, the painting has the power to suddenly brighten up the room where it hangs through a light that would appear to shine forth from her snow-white skin. She turns to her viewer sideways, and bares her right breast; her eyes trained on something or someone outside,…[291]

He called the Laura “one of the most astonishing paintings of the European Renaissance,” and claimed that it had a profound impact on artists who followed Giorgione. [291] He drew comparisons between the Laura and Giovanni Cariani’s Judith, Boccaccio Boccacino’s Portrait of a Girl, and even Albrecht Durer’s Portrait of a Young Woman that also hangs in Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum. He argued that Giorgione’s painting was a revolutionary departure.

There is no question that a work of this kind broke completely with previous Venetian portraiture. It was a turning point, if not a breaking point, which described a manner of conceiving the pictorial medium that was not just unprecedented, but actually elevated the descriptive datum to a metaphorical level. [297]

Nevertheless, the painting could also mark a revolutionary departure in depictions of Mary Magdalen. After Giorgione, painters such as Titian and Correggio would paint versions of an emotionally charged Magdalen with symbols representing both sinner and saint. Titian’s Sacred and Profane Love, painted shortly after Giorgione’s death, should be seen as one example.

In earlier posts I have also agreed with those who interpret Giorgione’s Three Philosophers as the Three Magi when they first see the Star of Bethlehem. I have also agreed with those who see his Boy with an Arrow as St. Sebastian. Coincidentally, a friend just back from a visit to Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum sent me an image (taken I suspect while the guards were looking the other way) of the three paintings hanging side by side. In the few years left to me I don’t expect the famed Museum to change the labels but what would we think of Giorgione and the Venetian Renaissance if we could stand before these paintings and see Mary Magdalen and St. Sebastian flanking the Three Magi at the first sign of the Incarnation?

Giorgione wall, Kunsthistorisches Museum.
Image courtesy of D.O.

* Enrico Maria dal Pozzolo: Giorgione,  Milan, 2009. Page numbers in brackets.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Giorgione et al...: Table of Contents.

I started publishing Giorgione et al... six years ago at the suggestion of  Hasan Niyazi, my late friend from Australia, who believed that it would receive a wide audience for my work on Giorgione, Titian, and the Venetian Renaissance. In six years I have put up 160 posts that so far have attracted almost 300000 page views from all over the world. 

Below find a table of contents that lists the title of every post that has appeared so far. It is too hard to add links to each post but they can be accessed by using the search bar or by clicking on the labels to the right. My major interpretive discoveries can still be found in full at MyGiorgione. 

Table of contents:

Giorgione: The Tempest. 9/7/2010

The Discovery of Paris. 9/13/2010

Giorgione: Three Philosophers. 9/20/2010

Boy with an Arrow. 9/27/10

Giorgione. “Laura”. 10/4/2010

Manchester Madonna. 10/11/2010

Titian: Vendramin Family. 10/14/2010

Tempesta “Pentimenti”. 10/24/2010

Luca Signorelli and Giorgione. 10/30/2010.

Giorgione Tempest. The Solitary Bird. 11/5/2010.

Giorgione and Paris Bordone: St. Joseph. 11/13/2010.

Giorgione “Tempest” Followers. 11/21/2010.

Giorgione “Tempest”: Gypsy Madonna. 11/26/2010.

Giorgione Tempest: A Gypsy Woman. 12/4/2010.

Giorgione, Michelangelo and Renaissance Nudity. 12/12/2010.

Giorgione Princeton Symposium. 12/18/2010.

Giorgione: Madonna and Child. 12/21/2010.

Giorgione: Historical Imagination. 1/1/2011.
Giorgione: “Virgilian” Tempest. 1/8/2011.

Giorgione: “Platonic” Tempest. 1/16/2011.

Giorgione: “Lucretian” Tempest. 1/23/2011.

Giorgione: Grimani Breviary. 1/30/2011.

Giorgione and Correggio. 2/6/2011.

Giorgione: The Madonna in Art. 2/13/2011.

Giorgione: Patrons and Painters. 2/20/2011.

Giorgione: “Due Notte”. 2/27/2011.

Giorgione and Cima da Conegliano. 3/6/2011

Giorgione: Renaissance Conference, March 2011, St. Louis. 3/12/2011

Giorgione and Lorenzo Lotto. 3/20/2011.

Giorgione and Mantegna: Exceptional Painters. 3/26/2011.

Giorgione and Patenier. 4/2/2011.

Giorgione Catalogs. 4/10/2011.

Giorgione: Judith. 4/17/2011.

Giorgione: Christ Carrying the Cross. 4/23/2011.

Giorgione and Fra Bartolomeo. 4/30/2011.

Giorgione Tempest: Adam and Eve? 5/7/2011.

Giorgione’s Tempest: A Renaissance Mystery Solved. 5/13/2011

Giorgione and Gerard David. 5/23/2011.

Giorgione: Sacred Art Guides. 5/28/2011.

Giorgione and Giovanni Bellini. 6/5/2011.

Giorgione and Titian. 6/12/2011.

Giorgione: Rona Goffen’s Venetian Eyes. 6/18/2011.

Giorgione: “Saturn Exiled” or “Man of Sorrows”. 6/25/2011.

Giorgione Tempest: a Vision. 7/3/2011.

Giorgione Tempest: Paris and Oenone. 7/9/2011.

Giorgione and Raphael. 7/16/2011.

Giorgione: Paintings and Patricians. 7/23/2011.

Giorgione and the Young Titian. 7/30/2011.

Giorgione: Castelfranco Altarpiece. 8/7/2011.

Giorgione: Castelfranco Altarpiece 2. 8/14/2011.

Giorgione and Jan van Scorel. 8/21/2011.

Giorgione: Mary Magdalen. 9/4/2011.

Giorgione: Sleeping Venus. 9/21/2011.

Giorgione: “Boy with an Arrow” 2. 9/28/2011.

Giorgione: “Three Ages of Man.” 10/8/2011.

Giorgione and the Young Titian 2. 10/22/2011.

Veronese: Mary Magdalen. 11/15/2011.

Giorgione and Titian: Mystery and Enigma. 11/24/2011.

Giorgione, Titian and the Fondaco dei Tedeschi. 12/8/2011.

Giorgione: “Virgilian” Tempest 2. 12/14/2011.

Giorgione, Titian and a Venetian Humanist. 12/23/2011.

Giorgione and Paris. 1/5/2012.

Giorgione: Allendale Adoration of the Shepherds. 1/13/2012.

Giorgione, Titian and Venetian Humanism. 1/27/2012.

Giorgione, Titian, and Anna Jameson. 2/8/2012.

Duccio: Maesta. 2/16/2012.

Giorgione: More Tempests. 2/22/2012.

Mary Magdalen. 3/2/2012.

Titian: “Flora”. 3/14/2012.

Renaissance Conference New Orleans. 3/22/2012.
Giovanni Bellini: Pieta. 3/31/2012.

Emile Male: Sacred Symbolism. 4/15/2012.

Giorgione: Catalog. 4/28/2012.

Titian: Sacred and Profane Love. 5/6/2012.

Bellini, Titian, Lotto. 5/17/2012.

Giorgione: Trial of Moses and Judgment of Solomon. 5/31/2012.

Giorgione and Leonardo. 6/14/2012.

Bellini, Giorgione, Titian bibliography. 6/28/2012.

Giorgione, Titian bibliography. 7/8/2012.

Giorgione: “Man of Sorrows.” 7/30/2012.

Titian: Presentation of the Virgin. 8/3/2012.

Giorgione’s Venice. 8/14/2012.

Giorgione Self- Portrait. 9/1/2012.

Giorgione’s Reputation. 9/11/2012.

Giorgione’s World. 9/24/2012.

Giorgione’s Apprenticeship at Padua. 10/16/2012.

Giorgione: Scientific Examinations. 11/3/2012

Giovanni Bellini and Giorgione: From Padua to Venice. 11/17/2012

Giorgione’s Tempest: Broken Columns. 12/4/2012

Giorgione’s Tempest: The Young Man. 12/15/2012.

Giorgione’s Tempest: The Young Man, Part II. 12/22/2012.

Giorgione’s Tempest: The Nursing Woman. 1/4/2013.

Giorgione’s Tempest: Marian Symbols. 1/15/2013.

Giorgione’s Tempest: The Woman Clothed with the Sun. 1/25/2013.

Giorgione’s Tempest: Massacre of the Innocents. 2/7/2013.

Ringling Museum of Art. 2/17/2013.

Titian: “Sacred and Profane Love”, Relief. 2/26/2013.

Titian: Sacred and Profane Love, Relief Figures of Adam and Eve. 3/7/2013.

Titian: “Sacred and Profane Love”, Conversion of St. Paul. 3/19/2013.

Titian: Sacred and Profane Love, Relief Summary. 3/29/2013.

Raphael: St. Cecilia. 4/18/2013.

The New Connoisseurship. 4/30/2013.

Giorgione: “Tempest”, First Edition. 5/13/2013.
Houghton Hall Exhibition. 5/20/2013.

Titian Exhibition: Rome, 2013. 6/6/2013.

Pastoral Concert. 6/17/2013.

Giorgione and Titian: Pastoral Concert. 7/1/2013.

Giorgione: The Three Philosophers. 7/15/2013.

Giorgione: Boy with an Arrow. 7/31/2013.

Giorgione’s Laura, Titian’s Flora, and Mary Magdalen. 8/19/2013.

Stokstad on Giorgione’s Tempest. 8/31/2013.

Renaissance Art Mysteries. 9/11/2013.

Renaissance Art Mysteries: Mary and Judith. 9/26/2013.

Renaissance Art Mysteries: Young St. Joseph. 10/9/2013.

Renaissance Art Mysteries: Giorgione “Saturn Exiled” or “Man of Sorrows.” 10/21/2013.

Hasan Niyazi R.I.P. 10/28/2013.

Renaissance Mysteries. Raphael’s “Vision of Ezekiel”? 11/5/2013.

Renaissance Mysteries; The Old Woman in Titian’s “Presentation.” 11/19/2013.

Titian at the Norton Simon Museum. 12/14/2013.
Giorgione: Christmas Stamp. 12/24/2013.

Titian: Madonna of the Rabbit. 1/7/2014.

Venice in 1500. 1/22/2014.

Jesus and Mary Magdalen. 3/12/2014.

Raphael, Giorgione, and the Flight into Egypt. 3/27/2014.

Renaissance Society Conference. 4/12/2014.

Durer in Venice. 4/29/2014.

Giorgione: “La Tempesta.” 5/13/2014.

Giorgione: Lost Discovery of Paris. 5/28/2014.

Giorgione: Three Philosophers. 6/9/2014.

Giorgione and Marcantonio Michiel. 6/26/2014.

Giorgione and Morto da Feltro. 7/12/2014.

Lorenzo Lotto: Crucifixion. 7/25/2014.

Titian: Assumption of Mary. 8/11/2014.

Giorgione Scholarship. 9/6/2014.

Leonardo: Last Supper. 9/18/2014.

Giovanni Bellini: St. Francis in the Desert. 9/29/2014.

The Vision of Ezekiel. 10/14/2014.

Raphael: Czartoryski Portrait. 10/28/2014.

Giorgione, Vasari, and a Judith Fresco. 11/16/2014.

Giorgione: Tempesta Pentimenti. 11/27/2014.

The Immaculate Conception in the Art of the Renaissance. 12/8/2014.

Giorgione: Adoration of the Shepherds. 12/24/2014.

Giorgione, Titian, and the Venetian Renaissance. 1/9/2015.

Norton Simon Duveen Exhibition: Primadonna. 3/4/2015.

Michelangelo: Doni Tondo. 4/4/2015.

Michelangelo: Doni Tondo Revision I. 5/31/2015.

Doni Tondo Revision II: John the Baptist. 7/3/2015.

Doni Tondo Revision III: The Nudes in the Background. 7/21/2015.

Michelangelo Doni Tondo: A Further Note on the Nudes. 9/3/2015.

Giorgione and Titian: Renaissance Mysteries. 9/17/2015.

Giorgione: Contemporary Sources. 10/13/2015.

Hasan Niyazi Correspondence. 10/28/2015.

Giorgio Vasari on Giorgione. 11/25/2015.

Giorgione: Adoration of the Shepherds. 12/18/2015.

Edward Hutton on Giorgione. 1/23/2016.

Giorgione: Portrait of a Young Man (Giustiniani). 3/5/2016.

Royal Academy Exhibition: In the Age of Giorgione. 3/16/2016.

The Age of Giorgione: Three Landscapes. 4/15/2016.

Giorgione: the Tempest. 5/13/2016.

Doni Tondo Bibliography. 7/10/2016.