The new Menarini Art Volume dedicated to Giorgione, the enigmatic painter

A mysterious, elusive artist, who was able to leave an everlasting mark on Renaissance painting in just ten years of activity: we are talking about Zorzi da Castelfranco, known as Giorgione, one of the undisputed masters of the Venetian School. The new Menarini Art Volume is dedicated to this enigmatic painter. The monograph, edited by Silvana Editoriale, was presented on Saturday 15 October in the presence of the author Giovanni Carlo Federico Villa at the Ateneo Veneto, the oldest cultural institution still active in Venice.

Despite the enormous popularity he experienced during his short life, both Giorgione’s biography and works are shrouded in mystery: he’s mentioned in only a handful of archival documents, and there are only four documented paintings, the attribution of all the others being uncertain. Even the interpretation of his subjects, dense with complex symbolism, is at the centre of numerous debates among art scholars.

Born in Castelfranco Veneto between 1477 and 1478, Giorgione moved to Venice as a young man where he studied in Bellini’s workshop, before opening his own later on. Among his pupils were artists such as Sebastiano del Piombo and Titian.

Giorgione lived and worked in the cultural setting of Venice at the end of the 15th century, a meeting place of different knowledge and expertise, a bridge between East and West. It is here that Giorgione established a dialogue with the personalities of his time, ranging from men of the church, of letters and science, to merchants and philosophers. His constant experimentation and attentive gaze, always looking to the future, led him to become an interpreter and master of the relationship between art, literature and science, resulting in interdisciplinary works rich in knowledge and allegories of difficult interpretation.

Giorgione,” explains Giovanni Carlo Federico Villa, author of the monograph, “is an extremely topical painter: he interprets the relationship between art, literature and science that is still relevant today. In our age focused on introspection and emotion, he still surprises us with his ability to work on emotions and reach out to our sensitivity. The interdisciplinarity that distinguished him, that is, the ability to delve into different types of knowledge, is echoed in our increasingly interconnected society. His humanism stems from his knowledge of the works of Aristotle, Plato and Plotinus, while his painting technique is able to reproduce reality, but also to paint nature not only as a background, but as the very protagonist of his works.

Despite his early death at only 33 years of age from a plague epidemic in 1510, Giorgione managed to lay the foundations of the Venetian Renaissance and set it on the path towards the artistic current that Vasari called ‘la Maniera Moderna‘. Moreover, in his constant experimentation, he linked his name to the technique of tonal or atmospheric painting, imbued with emotion, and marked the transition between the art of Bellini and that of Tintoretto and Titian, painters of modernity.

With his artistic production, Giorgione manages to embody the dialogue between Humanism and Science that is also one of Menarini’s cornerstones. For more than half a century, in fact, the Florentine pharmaceutical group has pursued the objective of bringing the general public closer to Italian art, particularly that of the Renaissance: a unique endeavour in the European panorama for the longevity and diversity of its initiatives.

The Menarini Art Volumes series, which saw its first publication in 1956, is proof of this: its monographs have ranged from Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael to Beato Angelico and Artemisia Gentileschi, celebrating Italian art and culture both abroad and within national borders. Moreover, the Art Volumes have two lives: they are first distributed by Menarini for a year and then reprinted by the publishing house for the wider public.

With the volume on Giorgione, Menarini continues to celebrate Italian art all over the world” – explain Lucia and Alberto Giovanni Aleotti, shareholders and members of the Menarini Board – “In order to make the Italian masters of Renaissance known abroad as well, in addition to the historical Art Volumes series, the Group also carries on with the digital project Menarini Pills of Art, with more than 600 art videos on YouTube in eight languages, which already reached 28 million views“.


Discover Giorgione’s masterpieces with Pills of Art at this link!