“The exact contrary of what is generally believed is often the truth.”

Jean de la Bruyere.

“Some of the greatest discoveries, as we saw, consist mainly in the clearing away of psychological road–blocks which obstruct the approach to reality.”

The Sleepwalkers. Arthur Koestler.

This project began life as a remaking of paintings, reproducing pictures by Giorgione, that are now considered lost. The majority of the paintings are based on engravings, made from the 16th century onwards. Several are based on drawings. A few reproduce surviving original paintings that have suffered damage or modification as a result of cleaning and restoration; the remade paintings show the undamaged original as it looked when engraved, long before any alterations. One reproduction is based on photographs taken before a recent ‘restoration’ changed the painting’s appearance. Original materials and methods are used to make the paintings, which are mounted in frames modelled on surviving originals from the period.

As a consequence of research and exposure to many forgotten and rarely seen images, a gradual understanding began to emerge of an artist completely at odds with the ‘Giorgione’ of modern art history. It now seems more appropriate to call this emerging persona Zorzon – the name he became known by in his lifetime - so as to distance him from the existing view of Giorgione: an enigmatic, almost mythic figure, with few paintings to his name.

Art history relies on documents from the period to help build a ‘factual’ picture of the artist and his work. The problem with Giorgione is that there are very few contemporary documents, so the paintings and what can be gleaned from later inventories and historians are all there is. But which paintings?

By 1900, historians attempting to clarify the issue had begun to ‘deconstruct’ the myth by discarding many traditionally attributed works and ‘reconstruct’ the new ‘factual’ Giorgione. The predictable result was a drastic paring down of his catalogue and a greatly diminished Giorgione.

Today, this process of deconstruction continues and historians now see Giorgione in terms of Myth and Enigma! But in his time Giorgione was the most famous and accomplished painter in Venice and his celebrated achievements must surely reflect the full painting culture of that time. Whatever happened to Big George?

The situation in 2010, the 500th anniversary of his death, is such that Giorgione appears to have reached a nadir and to be on the verge of extinction. If scholars have been unable to grasp this elusive artist then is not a fresh approach now needed? Any new objective to build a plausible body of work must first acknowledge his status and achievements – as handed down from the 16th century – and then begin a total reappraisal of the many paintings currently given to his contemporaries and followers: ‘Absence of documentary proof is not proof of absence’.

This project introduces significant misplaced images and revealing deductions that question the current thinking. Remaking Giorgione initiates a process that will hopefully result in the long awaited discovery of Zorzon.


Allegory of the Double Trumpet

Oil on Canvas
150cm x 215cm

Venetian carved and part-gilt
walnut frame with a lotus-leaf
sight moulding and fluted infill,
scrolls and counterflow volutes at centers and subcenters with rosettes and patera.