The Venetian painter Giorgione was born Giorgio Barbarelli da Castelfranco in 1475/8 although his exact birthdate is not known. His birthplace was the town of Castelfranco Veneto, just outside of Venice, Giorgione grew up in this cultural and commercial city. Extraordinarily little is known about this artist and no more than six paintings have been entirely attributed to him. He served his apprenticeship in the workshop of the renowned artist Giovanni Bellini and met the artist Titian who was also apprenticed to Bellini.
Most of the information that we have about his life comes from the writings of the art historian Giorgio Vasari. Vasari tended to embellish his accounts of the artist’s lives in his biographies. Given that he was writing years after the fact, his waxing lyrical about the artist's gentle manner, excellent lute playing, and fine singing voice may have been given more weight by Vasari’s exuberant style of writing
Giorgione was a distinguished and charming person and a great lover of music (Vasari). He was also becoming recognised for his painting abilities when he was about twenty-five years old, in or around 1502, he became established as an independent artist. Giorgione enjoyed the patronage of the Doge Andrea Gritti and the venetian ruler provided Giorgione with commissions. Giorgione was now a financially stable sought after artist.
He introduced a style of painting that emphasised light and colour rather than the Florentine tradition of the shapes of objects and figures. Rather than relying on preliminary drawings, Giorgione adjusted his composition directly on the work surface. This method allowed his paintings to evolve guided by his brushwork alone. What is clear is that Giorgione did acquire a reputation for surpassing the work of Gentile and Giovanni Bellini, he did admire and learn from Leonardo’s work (as suggested by Vasari). Venetian painting had evolved, it now included new visions, with the landscape as subject matter.