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Hermitage History.part 5

Oct - 18 - 2013


The Hermitage possesses a number of excellent works of Venetian painters of the XVI century. The great masters of the Venetian School turned colour into a powerful and pliant means of expressing the emotional contents of a picture. “Judith” (plalc 8), one of the few doubtless pictures by Giorgione (about 1478-1510), a gem of the collection, may serve an example of it.

The greatest master of the Venetian School is Titian (about 1485/90-1576) who is represented in the Hermitage by 9 paintings. The main features characterizing his creations, namely a sprightly perception of the world, adoration of the great vital powers of nature, admiration of the wealth and splendour of the colours, are especially visible in her picture “Repentant Magdalen”  (plate 11). The sinner retiring to the desert and suffering pangs of profound and sincere repentance is full of the sensual- charm of florescent womanly beauty. Titian’s masterly brushwork admirably renders the elasticity of her young body, the softness of her skin, her silky hair, swimming eyes, and the face flushed with weeping.

( The painter’s craft attains the highest level in one of his most remarkable works – “St. Sebastian” (plaie 12), it belongs to the last years of his life.
Venetian portrait-paintors are represented in the album by Lot to’s (1480 – 1556) “Family Portrait” (plate 9), and the “Portrait of a Man” (plate 10).

by Domenico Mancini. The two great painters, whose works close the period of Renaissance in Venice, are P. Veronese (1528 -1588) and J. Tintoretto (1518 – 1594); they are represented in the album by a ”Pieta” (plate 13), totally disclosing Veronese’s capabilities as a colourist; and also by a work remarkable for its force and brightness of colours painted by Tintoretto ” Nativity of  Saint John the Baptist ” ( plate 14).

The period especially vastly represented in the Hermitage is the XVII – XVIII centuries. The greatest painter of the realistic trend in the XVII century – Caravaggio (1573-1610)-is represented by one of the best paintings of his early period ” The Lute Player” (plate 15). This type of artworks of the young artist, exhibiting unembellished reality, opposed to the widely spread pictures on allegorical and mythological subjects, struck his contemporaries With their daring freshness.

Among the Works of Italian art of the XVIII century those of the painters of Venice, where at the time pictorial art achieved its last brilliant rise, seem most prominent. Of those the Hermitage possesses, We have chosen for our album “Maecenas presenting to Augustus the Fine Arts” -a picture by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696-1770), who was a great master of decorative pictorial art (plate 17). The splendid galaxy of Venetian landscape-painters, who had so wonderfully shown there city in all its aspects, with its canals and islands, its bright and noisy outdoor life, its revels and festivities, its quiet bystreets and outskirts, is represented in our album by A. Canaletto (1697 – 1768) (plate 18), and Guardi (1712-1793) (plate 19).

V.F. Levinsol – Lessing


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