Dante's Divine Comedy with Giorgione illustration and death notice

Our 1497 copy of Dante's Divine Comedy contains a death notice of Renaissance artist Giorgione in the form of an ink inscription. It is written above a red chalk sketch by Giorgione himself, of the Madonna and child. The upper line of the inscription is cut through at the top of the page and is reconstructed. The inscription, translated, reads:

“1510 Ihs Maria
On the day of 17 September, Giorgione of Castelfranco, a very excellent artist died of the plague in Venice at the age of 36 and he rests in peace”

Giorgione is considered the rarest of the Venetian artists, with only six surviving paintings firmly attributed to him. Giorgione is arguably as important an artist as Leonardo da Vinci, and along with Titian founded the Venetian school of Italian Renaissance painting.

His death notice and annotation about his life gives an exact date for Giorgione’s death, and his age at death, which gives a definite chronology for his life that was previously unknown. 

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