Giorgione: The Adoration Of The Shepherds

3065 words - 12 pages

Artist: Giorgione (*1477/1478; †25.10.1510)

Title: The Adoration of the Shepherds

The Adoration of the Shepherd

about 1505, oil on panel, 35 4/5" x 43 4/5" (91 x 111cm)

National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, USA

This essay attempts to describe analyze and evaluate the famous painting "The Adoration of the Shepherd" by Giorgione (originally Giorgio Barbarelli). In the following essay there will be three main sections:

1 Inventory - (WHAT?)
2 Formal Analysis - (HOW?)
3 Interpretation/Meaning (WHY?)

The Inventory (I) will include:

a.) subject matter

b.) function/intention

c.) description

The Formal Analysis (II) will include:

a.) Pictorial Elements

i. Line

ii. Form and shape

iii. Colour

iv. Space

b.) Pictorial Elements

i. Balance

ii. Emphasis

iii. Contrast

iv. Pattern

The Interpretation/Meaning (III) will be written without any guideline points, the aim of this part will be to determine what the painter wanted to express with his piece of work and what it tells us in a symbolic or not instantly clear way. This part will also handle why the artist drew the painting the way he did it and why he chose various techniques or tools.

1. About the Painter

Giorgione or Giorgio Barbarelli da Castelfranco was born in 1477 or 1478, the exact date is not known, in Castelfranco. Even though there were no more than about twenty paintings officially associated with him, of which only about six are attributed to him without doubt, his originality was so powerful that these few works have come to represent not only the first stage in the Venice High Renaissance, but a new trend in Italian art as well. Surviving documentation of his life and work is sparse.

Giorgione died untimely in his early thirties of plague during the outbreak of this lethal disease in Venice in 1510.

About the Time Period

* The kingdom of Neapel now belongs to the Spanish after the war against France and is reigned by the Spanish viceroy


Czar (Tsar) III. Of Russia dies
Martin Luther enters the Augustinian abbey after a formative experience in a thunderstorm with a lightning
The first Admiral Law is published


Philip I. (The Beautiful) of Castilian dies, his 6 year old son becomes Carl I., king of Spain and Carl V., king of the Netherlands
Christopher Columbus, discoverer of what today is America, dies in the belief of having found a new sea route to India


Martin Luther becomes a priest
The Dominican Johann Tetzel starts intensive indulgence trade

3. About the Artistic Development

"After the death of Raphael, the sixteenth century saw a shift in the dominance in art from Florence and Rome to Venice in northern Italy." The only painter who was still of great importance for central Italy was Michelangelo, who finally died in 1564 and left the region around Florence and Rome behind with no more artists worth mentioning. Basing on the...

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