Madonna Castelfranco - Giorgione. 200 x 152 cm
The picture of the great master of the Renaissance Madonna Castelfranco owns several records at once. Firstly, this is the only work of the painter, written in the genre of altar paintings, and secondly, this is the largest work created by oil on wood. Finally, the best part is that Madonna is the only masterpiece where Giorgione’s authorship is not in doubt.
It is known that Giorgione painted a picture commissioned by Tuzio Constantio. This condottiere (the head of the military detachment) dreamed of placing an altar image in the Cathedral of Castelfranco Veneto, in memory of his dead son. The coat of arms at the bottom of the pedestal where the Virgin Mary and the Baby are seated belongs to the Constantsio family.
Looking at any picture, I always want to understand what is the peculiarity of this or that masterpiece. In the presented work, the answer lies on the surface - here Giorgione completely departed from the canonical writing of the holy interview (the name of the plot depicting the Madonna and Jesus in the circle of Saints). Although many researchers are inclined to believe that the author borrowed some details from the altars of his teacher Bellini.
Madonna sits high on a pedestal. At her feet are two heroes - St. Francis and the valiant knight in armor. For a long time there were disputes about whom Giorgione portrayed as a knight. It has been speculated that this is St. Gregory, St. Liberal (patron saint of the church), but lately more and more scientists are inclined to believe that before us is St. Nikas.
The landscape in this picture, although not dominant, but plays a very important role. The throne of the Madonna is on the same level with the landscape background, as if emphasizing the unity of the ideal world and the real world. Everything here breathes harmony and beauty.
Prior to large-scale restoration work in 2002-2003. at the Venice Academy, the appearance of the most famous painting by Giorgione left much to be desired. Many renovations and inept restoration have changed the picture, so that in some research works you can find very unflattering reviews of the work. In 1972, another misfortune occurred with the painting - it was stolen directly from the cathedral, and returned only three weeks after the payment of the ransom, leaving it in an abandoned house.
Today, the legendary work of Giorgione again looks great (after the skillful restorers worked on it) and is still there - in the Cathedral of Castelfranco, but already under more reliable protection.