Foto Giorgione

The Giorgione House Museum

The Museo Casa Giorgione is at the heart of the cultural heritage of Castelfranco Veneto. The house in which the Master pondered and wrought his work for his client is a private space charged with the atmosphere of centuries of history. This innovative exhibition adapts to the extraordinary charm of the place and to the artist's two masterpieces preserved in the city: The Castelfranco Altarpiece in the city Cathedral and the Frieze of the Liberal and Mechanical Arts in the central hall on the main floor of the museum.

For the opening of the celebrations commemorating the five-hundredth anniversary of Giorgione's death, the city of Castelfranco wished to dedicate a place to its genius loci in order to open a door on the world of the artist and that period when the March of Treviso was the scene of great cultural endeavour. "We wanted people to be able to enter the house, not as mere visitors wishing to see the objects displayed, but as guests of a place that through its suggestions, references and images is capable of recreating the atmosphere of the period and land of the Master", states Mayor Maria Gomierato. "The aim is to enhance an important civic and cultural heritage by focusing on unique and unrepeatable resources that today are more strategic than ever for the development of our country." Inaugurated on 9 May, the Museum is the first stage of the celebration project for the commemoration of the five-hundredth anniversary of Giorgione's death.

Undertaken with the help of the Province of Treviso, the extraordinary support of the Veneto Region and the collaboration of the General Council for the Artistic, Architectural and Ethno-Anthropological Heritage (BASAE) of the Provinces of Venice, Belluno, Padua and Treviso, the celebration programme is accompanied by urban regeneration work centred around the medieval walls. The broad aim is to promote the historical and artistic resources of the city, one of the features being an important exhibition on Giorgione between December 2009 and April 2010. The exhibition mounting, directed by the planners of the museological and museographical studios - respectively, Danila Dal Pos and Giorgio Pia - is the result of intense work lasting over four years and invites visitors to actively engage with the museum as a precious experience. Here visitors can breathe an historic atmosphere and embark on a journey of discovery.

In the exhibition itinerary, multimedia tools stand alongside Renaissance works - some part of the civic collection, others purchased on the international antiques market. The heritage works include over one hundred items which, along with architectural and environmental reconstructions, immerse visitors in a late fifteenth-century atmosphere, while at the same time encouraging them to explore the enigmatic power of Zorzi of Castelfranco, the influence exercised on him by the place where he lived, and the messages behind his revolutionary painting.

Visitors' Itinerary

From the Altar-Piece to the Frieze across an Entire Age

The museum has three highlights: the renowned Madonna with Child between St Francis and St Nicasius, the Frieze of the Liberal and Mechanical Arts and the House itself - the site of the Museum. This is where Giorgione painted the Frieze, produced for the Marta-Pellizzari House, as well as the Alterpiece for the Costanzo Chapel in the city Cathedral. From the history and secrets behind the two masterpieces the museum project sets out to recount an area and age of great cultural ferment, which were particularly congenial to the formation of the artist and his innovative language. The exhibition itinerary starts in a mysterious semi-darkness in order to explore panel painting and to achieve an intimate, personal view of the Frieze.

The itinerary unfolds throughout the whole House, recreating late 15th-century milieus; it shows the unique features of the Gothic building, which was altered in the 15th century according to the model for Veneto houses and then restored in 2002 with the help of the Cassamarca Foundation. Through the extraordinary poetic and compositional invention represented by the Altarpiece, the itinerary intertwines the most significant elements of a culture that shows many Medieval traces while also anticipating the Renaissance. It shows Giorgione's work from inside and throws light on its creation through a multimedia apparatus, pointing visitors towards an experience that extends beyond the painting. The 15th-century armour in between exhibit rooms is a reminder of the work's patron, the mercenary Tuzio Costanzo, who served the Serenissima and the Kingdom of Cyprus. The glass reconstruction of the hunting boat commissioned by Caterina Cornaro, the Queen of Cyprus exiled to Asolo, illustrates its antique water sprays and unique features. Precious objects and textiles from the 15th and 16th century tell of the love of beauty and the arts of this age.

The display invites viewers to approach the museum as a valuable experience, the result of detailed research on the few extant documents concerning the career of this extraordinary master. A son of that Veneto which between the 14th and 16th century was the capital of Italian and international art, thanks to artists such as Giotto, Mantegna, Bellini and Titian, Giorgione passed away when he was just over thirty, in 1510, leaving extraordinary masterpieces behind him. Very few works are ascribed to him today; likewise, the number of documents proving his existence is limited to five - and a hall of the Museum specifically deals with them. From this point onwards, the darkness that has enveloped visitors starts to dissolve, as the story of the only fresco attributed to Giorgione to have been preserve in its entirety is illustrated. Visitors can fully appreciated this work thanks to the knowledge acquired in the various exhibit halls.

The Frieze reveals the certainties and fears of an age. Astrology, astronomy, war and philosophy are the elements that can be explored through the painting and the original pieces that present the entire sequence of the Frieze. Closed and open books, an hourglass, an armillary sphere and measuring instruments interact with the works and characters which Giorgione was inspired by for the creation of the fresco. These range from the Dream of Polyphilus written by the Dominican monk Francesco Colonna to the thought of Giovan Battista Abioso, one of the major astronomers and astrologers of the time. Finally, the reconstruction of Giorgione's studio enables visitors to physically enter a space where the artist and his Humanist client, who commissioned the Frieze, worked together to create this extraordinary tale of life.

The Giorgione House Museum