Description of the picture:
Laura – Giorgione. 1506. Oil on canvas glued to a tree. 41 x 34 cm
The portrait of an unknown dark-haired girl, Laura, is the only accurately dated work by Giorgione. If we don’t know anything about heroin, where did the name Laura come from? The play of words is all to blame, and the idea of this master of the Byzantine Renaissance was spied on by Leonardo Da Vinci. Behind the heroine’s back, the master depicted a laurel tree, hence the name: "laurel" – Laura.
Many researchers reacted to the portrait with close attention, trying to find out who this stranger was. There were ideas that the picture depicts the eminent love of Petrarch, Laura de Nov, but it is clear that she was a blonde, and in the portrait we see a pretty brunette. There is also a worldview that Laura is a collective image, or Giorgione painted a portrait of a courtesan (especially since the most common names for women with a similar occupation were Lauretta and Laura). In defense of this conjecture can serve the fact that Giorgione was a famous lover "love pleasures" (according to Vasari). And another aspect: specifically the courtesans preferred outfits with fur to the body. In the picture, we see that the heroine is dressed specifically in such clothes.
If we compare the picture with other works since then, we can note that the portrait is quite modest in size. The composition of the picture is not particularly innovative, but the color, on the contrary, causes burning interest.
Many researchers like to compare the style of Giorgione’s writing in this work with the style of Leonardo – a clear softening of transitions due to midtones, black and white elements resembling the “Leonardo” sfumato, etc.
At first glance, the girl in the picture seems rustic: a round face with puffy cheeks, a hairstyle with even parting, a large nose. However, the stubborn look, slightly pursed lips and the strong-willed character of the heroine, which Giorgione was able to catch, radically change her attitude towards her.
Giorgione placed his heroine on a black background, only the laurel tree brings some kind of revival, but the Laura’s skin seems even whiter, and the image becomes more fragile. One can imagine that once this girl was romantic and naive, until life circumstances tempered her character. The headscarf covers the girl’s head, while all this transparent fabric casually falls on Laura’s very open neckline, like a snake wrapping around her chest. A special emphasis is placed on the fur coat – rich red, wine color completes the slender composition.
Having examined and studied everything in detail, you are finally convinced that Laura is beautiful, and you only sigh with admiration and contemplation of this impeccable beauty …"