Sleeping Venus - Giorgione. 108 x 175 cm
Surprisingly, one of the most famous paintings of the outstanding master of high Renaissance Giorgione “Sleeping Venus” combines the letter of several masters. It is known that Giorgione began the painting, but the plague that claimed the lives of many Europeans prevented the painter from completing the work - at the age of 33 (32) the artist died, falling another victim of the “black death”.
Painstaking researchers, having analyzed every millimeter of the canvas, confidently stated that Titian was completing the canvas (it is reliably known that at that time he worked in the workshop of Giorgione). Art critics also found in some details of the work the hand of another author, whose name could not be identified. Perhaps it was Sebastiano del Piombo, who often finished writing the details of the master’s painting, since Giorgione was literally littered with orders.
But why do we admire the style of Giorgione, taking the picture, the creation of which (albeit forced) the other masters had a hand in? This is because Giorgione’s special stylistic features — the landscape, the transmission of lighting, the compositional construction, namely, the ratio of the figure of Venus and the surrounding background — found in the work.
For the first time, Giorgione’s nude figure of the goddess “captured” the space of the picture almost entirely - the entire foreground is given to the beautiful Venus. She is relaxed and relaxed. The viewer can see the naked chest, and the left hand of Venus, lowered to the inner side of the thigh, as if deliberately focuses on this fragment of the body. The figure of the girl is depicted in soft, smooth lines. The gentle outline of the goddess echoes the blurred outlines of mountains in the distance. After this technique will be adopted by many other artists, including Titian.
Another revolutionary point in this work is the choice of theme. Before Venus, Giorgione masters had to rely on the literary source. The painter here shows us the fruit of his imagination. Moreover, this is the only Giorgione painting on a mythological theme.
It is known that initially Titian drew Cupid at the feet of Venus (as you know, Venus was portrayed surrounded by putti), but the image of an angel has not reached our days. Only infrared analysis allows you to see traces of cupid on the canvas. Cupid had an arrow and a bird in his hands, which only strengthened the erotic character of an already quite frank picture. Although the picture cannot be reproached in some vulgarity, on the contrary, even a naked goddess is not devoid of chastity and exaltation.
The beautiful Venus is still considered one of the most perfect female images in world painting.