(b. 1477, Castelfranco, d. 1510, Venezia)

Portrait of a Young Man

c. 1504
Oil on canvas, 58 x 46 cm
Staatliche Museen, Berlin

In portraiture, as in other areas of painting, the tradition established by Bellini was transformed in the first decade of the sixteenth century by Giorgione. In contrast to the reserved formality of most fifteenth-century portraits, Giorgione introduced a new quality of soulfulness and intimacy into portraiture. He also expanded its expressive range by introducing motifs and compositional devices associated with other types of picture, so that in some cases it becomes difficult to decide whether or not a portrait-like image is meant to represent a real person. His younger contemporaries continued to explore the possibilities that he opened up for portraiture and related images for at least a decade after his death.

The colours of this brilliant portrait are unfortunately faded due to an overcleaning before 1939.