The Venetian painter known as Giorgione or ‘big George’ died at a young age in the dreadful plague of 1510, possibly having painted fewer than 25 works. But many of these are among the most mysterious and alluring in the history of art. Paintings such as the 'Three Philosophers' and 'The Tempest' remain compellingly elusive, seeming to deny the viewer the possibility of interpreting their meaning. Tom Nichols argues that this visual elusiveness was essential to Giorgione’s sensual approach, and that ambiguity is their defining quality. Through detailed discussions of all Giorgione’s works, Nichols shows that by abandoning the more intellectual tendencies of much Renaissance art, Giorgione made the world and its meanings appear always more inscrutable.

Author of 'Giorgione's Ambiguity', Tom Nichols (University of Glasgow), in conversation with Thalia Allington-Wood (Warburg Institute) and François Quiviger (Warburg Institute).

Renaissance Lives is a series of biographies published by Reaktion Books as well as a series of conversations discussing the ways in which individuals transmitted or changed the lives of traditions, ideas and images.

This event took place on 1 December 2022.