AS we look back upon the lives of the great painters
we can see how each one added some new knowledge
to the history of Art, and unfolded fresh beauties to
the eyes of the world. Very gradually all this was
done, as a bud slowly unfolds its petals until the full-
blown flower shows forth its perfect beauty. But here
and there among the painters we find a man who
stands apart from the rest, one who takes a new and
almost startling way of his own. He does not
gradually add new truths to the old ones, but makes
an entirely new scheme of his own. Such a man
was Giorgione, whose story we tell to-day.
It was at the same time as Leonardo da Vinci
was the talk of the Florentine world, that another
great genius was at work in Venice, setting his
mark high above all who had gone before. Giorgio
Barbarelli was born at Castel Franco, a small town
not far from Venice, and it was to the great city of the
sea that he was sent as soon as he was old enough,
there to be trained under the famous Bellini. He
was a handsome boy, tall and well-built, and with
such a royal bearing that his companions at once
gave him the name of Giorgione, or George the Great.
And, as so often happened in those days, the nick-
name clung to him, so that while his family name
is almost forgotten he is still known as Giorgione.
 There was much of the poet nature about
Giorgione, and his love of music was intense. He
composed his own songs and sang them to his own
music upon the lute, and indeed it seemed as if
there were few things which this Great George
could not do. But it was his painting that was
most wonderful, for his painted men and women
seemed alive and real, and he caught the very spirit
of music in his pictures and there held it fast.
Giorgione early became known as a great artist,
and when he was quite a young man he was
employed by the city of Venice to fresco the outside
walls of the new German Exchange. Wind and
rain and the salt sea air have entirely ruined these
frescoes now, and there are but few of Giorgione's
pictures left to us, but that perhaps makes them all
the more precious in our eyes.
Even his drawings are rare, and the one you see
here is taken from a bigger sketch in the Uffizi
Gallery of Florence. It shows a man in Venetian
dress helping two women to mount one of the
niches of a marble palace in order to see some
passing show, and to be out of the way of the crowd.
DRAWING BY GIORGIONE
There is a picture now in the Venice Academy
said to have been painted by Giorgione, which would
interest every boy and girl who loves old stories.
It tells the tale of an old Venetian legend, almost
forgotten now, but which used to be told with bated
breath, and was believed to be a matter of history.
The story is this:
On the 25th of February 1340 a terrible storm
began to rage around Venice, more terrible than
 any that had ever been felt before. For three days
the wild winds swept her waters and shrieked around
her palaces, churning up the sea into great waves
and shaking the city to her very foundations.
Lightning and thunder never ceased, and the rain
poured down in a great sheet of grey water, until it
seemed as if a second flood had come to visit the
world. Slowly but surely the waters rose higher
and higher, and Venice sunk lower and lower, and
men said that unless the storm soon ceased the
city would be overwhelmed. No one ventured
out on the canals, and only an old fisherman who
happened to be in his boat was swept along by the
canal of San Marco, and managed with great difficulty
to reach the steps. Very thankful to be safe
on land he tied his boat securely, and sat down to
wait until the storm should cease. As he sat there
watching the lightning and hearing nothing but
the shriek of the tempest, some one touched his
shoulder and a stranger's voice sounded in his ear.
'Good fisherman,' it said, 'wilt thou row me over
to San Giorgio Maggiore? I will pay thee well if
thou wilt go.'
The fisherman looked across the swirling waters
to where the tall bell-tower upon the distant island
could just be seen through the driving mist and rain.
'How is it possible to row across to San Giorgio?'
he asked. 'My little boat could not live for five
minutes in those raging waters.'
But the stranger only insisted the more, and
besought him to do his best.
So, as the fisherman was a hardy old man and had
 a bold, brave soul, he loosed the boat and set off in
all the storm. But, strangely enough, it was not half
so bad as he had feared, and before long the little
boat was moored safely by the steps of San Giorgio
Here the stranger left the boat, but bade the
fisherman wait his return.
Presently he came back, and with him came a
young man, tall and strong, bearing himself with a
'Row now to San Niccolo da Lido,' commanded
'How can I do that?' asked the fisherman in
great fear. For San Niccolo was far distant, and he
was rowing with but one oar, which is the custom
'Row boldly, for it shall be possible for thee, and
thou shalt be well paid,' replied the stranger calmly.
So, seeing it was the will of God, the fisherman
set out once more, and, as they went, the waters
spread themselves out smoothly before them, until
they reached the distant San Niccolo da Lido.
Here an old man with a white beard was awaiting
them, and when he too had entered the boat, the
fisherman was commanded to row out towards the
Now the tempest was raging more fiercely than
ever, and lo! across the wild waste of foaming
waters an enormous black galley came bearing down
upon them. So fast did it approach that it seemed
almost to fly upon the wings of the wind, and as it
came near the fisherman saw that it was manned by
 fearful-looking black demons, and knew that they
were on their way to overwhelm the fair city of
But as the galley came near the little boat, the
three men stood upright, and with outstretched
arms made high above them the sign of the cross,
and commanded the demons to depart to the place
from whence they had come.
In an instant the sea became calm, and with a
horrible shriek the demons in their black galley
disappeared from view.
Then the three men ordered the fisherman to
return as he had come. So the old man was landed
at San Niccolo da Lido, the young knight at San
Giorgio Maggiore, and, last of all, the stranger
landed at San Marco.
Now when the fisherman found that his work was
done, he thought it was time that he should receive
his payment. For, although he had seen the great
miracle, he had no mind to forgo his proper fare.
'Thou art right,' said the stranger, when the
fisherman made his demand, 'and thou shalt indeed
be well paid. Go now to the Doge and tell him all
thou hast seen; how Venice would have been
destroyed by the demons of the tempest, had it not
been for me and my two companions. I am St.
Mark, the protector of your city; the brave young
knight is St. George, and the old man whom we
took in last is St. Nicholas. Tell the Doge that I
bade him pay thee well for thy brave service.'
'But, and if I tell them this story, how will they
believe that I speak the truth?' asked the fisherman.
 Then St. Mark took a ring off his finger, and
placed it in the fisherman's rough palm. 'Thou
shalt show them this ring as a proof,' he said; 'and
when they look in the treasury of San Marco, they
will find that it is missing from there.'
And when he had finished saying this, St. Mark
Then the next day, as early as possible, the fisherman
went to the Doge and told his marvellous tale
and showed the saint's ring. At first no one could
believe the wild story, but when they sent and
searched in St. Mark's treasury, lo! the ring was
missing. Then they knew that it must indeed have
been St. Mark who had appeared to the old fisherman,
and had saved their beloved city from destruction.
So a solemn thanksgiving service was sung in the
great church of San Marco, and the fisherman
received his due reward.
He was no longer obliged to work for his living,
but received a pension from the rulers of the city, so
that he lived in comfort all the rest of his days.
In the picture we see the great black galley
manned by the demons, sweeping down upon the
little boat, in which the three saints stand upright.
And not only are the demons on board their ship,
but some are riding on dolphins and curious-looking
fish, and the little boat is entirely surrounded by the
We do not know much about Giorgione's life,
but we do know that it was a short and sad one,
clouded over at the end by bitter sorrow. He had
loved a beautiful Venetian girl, and was just about
 to marry her when a friend, whom he also loved,
carried her off and left him robbed of love and
friendship. Nothing could comfort him for his loss,
the light seemed to have faded from his life, and
soon life itself began to wane. A very little while
after and he closed his eyes upon all the beauty and
promise which had once filled his world. But
though we have so few of his pictures, those few
alone are enough to show that it was more than an
idle jest which made his companions give him the
nickname of George the Great.
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