“The Harlot before Christ”, Giorgione – description of the painting

Description of the picture:

The harlot before Christ – Giorgione. 137 x 180 cm
The plot from the New Testament about the harlot and Christ became one of the most often reproduced painters. The story contained in the Gospel of John tells us about how the Pharisees brought a lady to Jesus who was convicted of adultery. Bookworms began to assert that Moses told to thrash such sinners with stones, but Christ made his eternal objection: whoever is blameless, let him first throw a stone at her. And all threw their pebbles to the ground and left one by one.

Giorgione tells his viewer just the moment when the harlot is brought to Christ by the angry Pharisees. It can be noted right away that the picture is not ordinary for a famous master of the Highest Renaissance. It’s much more familiar to see that small figures of people literally “drown” in a luxurious vibrant landscape. Here, almost the entire space of work is occupied by heroes.

The figure of Christ and the harlot is highlighted by Giorgione in bright dominant colors – these are blue and orange robes on Jesus, also a snow-white dress with a green-marsh cloak tied obliquely on a woman. The remaining heroes are depicted in red, brown and gold tones.

The composition is built in such a way that each hero is clearly visible. All figures are drawn in dynamics, which is read in their complex poses. However, with all the harmony of compositional construction, you can notice that each hero here seems to live his own life. The sinner does not look at Christ at all; she is indifferent to what is happening. The relationship can hardly be traced between Jesus and the scribe in a golden shirt. This isolation of heroes is another hallmark of Giorgione.

It is impossible not to note the special writing of the figures of people – the painter overcame the contour and form, turning (according to art critic L. Lyubimov) all the elements of the canvas into a “color symphony”. In other words, the contour and line “dissolved” in color, becoming a single textured element. Even Leonardo with his sfumato began such a transformation in painting, and Giorgione had the fate to bring the undertaking to absolute perfection. Giorgione was the first to practice painting without preliminary drawing – he immediately painted with color spots, which is why his paintings are so saturated.

The landscape of the painting “The Harlot before Christ” is distinguished by serenity – it acts as a mute decoration, where all events unfold. The gentle tones of greenery, the serenity of the blue sky seem to tell us: Christ will enlighten both the evil Pharisees and the harlot. And forgive the woman for sin."

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