Giorgione's Madonna and Child in the Countryside By Ella Weintraub

The artist: Giorgione was born in the year 1477 in the village of Castelfranco, Italy. He spent most of his life in Venice, Italy as a pupil, assistant, and artist. He studied under another esteemed artist of this era, Giovanni Bellini. Only a choice few of his paintings have stood the test of time, and while he was said to be a kind, loving man, very little else is known about his personal life. His successful career stemmed not only from his private works of perspectivism but the grand frescoes he was commissioned by the people to create the in the Fondanco dei Tedeschi. He usually only painted privately, but when he did create a masterpiece for someone else, the people as a whole were his patrons. Giorgione experienced many changes of scenery over the course of his life: he grew up in a small, sleepy village and then relocated to Venice in order to receive an education. This change from a calm, serene hometown to a bustling, lively city may have played into his artistic style of extreme and often explainable contrast between themes. He was a man shrouded in mystery.

The piece: This painting, created in 1510, is titled Madonna and Child in the Countryside. Today, this piece is located at the Accedemia Cara in Bergamo, Italy. This work was so significant in that it was a part of the artistic revolution "perspectivism", which consisted of realistic, three dimensional paintings. This new technique was also characterized by a landscape that included a vanishing point and linear perspective, which are both present in Madonna and Child in the Countryside. The painting also utilizes naturalism because it uses texture as an aid in appearing realistic and shows life as it is, not as it should be. I find this piece so interesting because of the contrasting messages it seems to carry: while part of the painting is bright and cheerful, the other is ominous and brooding. It could certainly be said that Giorgione's works were some of the most genius and thought-provoking of the Renaissance.

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