Small portable paintings were made for private collectors to be displayed in the studiolo and contemporary inventories provide ample evidence of the contents of these collections. The paintings here are typical of this type of picture and reproduce work made throughout the 1490’s. There are two Nativities, a Rest on the flight to Egypt and Saints in their settings. Some are based on classical texts – Virgil, Ovid, Lucretius – and others on more recent literature – Boiardo, Ficino. A few are of a type that can be understood as ‘historical/political’ allegories whereas another more enigmatic type can best be described as ‘ambiguous poetic’ allegories. Could these perhaps be the problematic ‘restelli’ the Venetian Senate so disapproved of? The paintings of the female figure are early examples of what has become a celebrated Giorgione innovation – the sensual nude recumbent in a landscape.


© 2010 Zorzon 500
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