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Giorgione in Castelfranco Veneto

Two masterpieces by the enigmatic Renaissance painter in a treasure chest of wonders

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Where is

Veneto

Vicolo della Chiesa, 9, 31033 Castelfranco Veneto TV, Italia (42m s.l.m.)

Directions
map

What it is and where it is

Inside the walls of Castelfranco Veneto, right on the central square are the Cathedral, an early work by Francesco Maria Preti, and the so-called "Casa Giorgione," now a museum. No less than two masterpieces by Giorgio da Castelfranco, known as Giorgione (1478-1510), are hidden here.

Why it is special

In the 18th-century cathedral named after San Liberale, Giorgione's Altarpiece (1503-1504) is an unprecedented interpretation of the Sacred Conversation. The Madonna and Child sits atop an imposing throne; below, St. Nicasius and St. Francis complete the compositional pyramid. It looks almost like a theatrical scene, complete with wings and backdrops: the outstretched hand of St. Francis invites the viewer's gaze to take part, and introduces him into the soft tones of the Venetian countryside stretching behind the throne.

Not to be missed

The Frieze of the Liberal and Mechanical Arts (1502-1503), on the other hand, can be seen just below the ceiling on two walls of one of the rooms in Casa Pellizzari (since 2009 Museo Casa Giorgione). It is an extraordinary monochrome fresco (77x1588 cm). The Frieze depicts with great realism and abundance of detail the books and tools of the Liberal and Mechanical Arts-music, painting, architecture, geometry, astronomy, medicine-but it may conceal more hidden meanings, related precisely to astrology and the nefarious astral conjunctions of the time, which sowed a subtle disquiet.

Trivia

Giorgione, whose real name is Giorgio Gasparini, is one of the greatest painters of the Renaissance era. An original and enigmatic artist, he never signed his works, so that, even today, many critics debate about the interpretation of some works and their attribution to his personal catalog.

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