Giorgione | Il Tramonto (The Sunset)

About this Painting

The meaning of this scene is difficult to decipher, largely because the painting is very damaged and many areas are not original. The two foreground figures are genuine and may represent Saint Roch and Gothardus, who tended the plague sore on Saint Roch’s thigh. If this is the case, the picture might have been painted to commemorate relief from the plague in the Veneto in 1504. The sinister little beaked creature emerging from the water also seems to be genuine, although its meaning is unclear. After its rediscovery in the 1930s, the painting underwent several phases of restoration. Saint George and the dragon were added to cover a large area of damage, as was the monster in the lake, and the ‘hermit’ in the cave on the right was extensively repainted. However, the distant landscape with its atmospheric dissolution of light is evidence of Giorgione’s work (text courtesy of the National Gallery).

An in-depth analysis of this painting is available on The National Gallery Website.

Connection to last week's item:Last week's item was a photograph of a sketch which was thought to be by Giorgione after a painting done by Raphael. This week's painting has a similarly convoluted story as has been conserved, ammended and undergone significant changes since it was first painted by Giorgione (c. 1506 - 1510). A link to an article exploring the history and changes to of the painting by Jill Dunkerton, Paintings Conservator at the National Gallery is available to read online or download a copy.