The Three Philosophers

Artist: Giorgione
Original name: I tre filosofi
Style: High Renaissance
Genre: genre painting
Date: 1509
Copyright: Public domain

This painting was commissioned by a Venetian merchant, Taddeo Contarini, who had an interest in the occult and alchemy. The painting depicts three philosophers: one young, one middle aged, and one old. According to one interpretation, the three figures are said to represent the three stages of human thought: the Renaissance, the age of Muslim academic expansion, and the Middle Ages. Other interpretations include that the philosophers are standing outside Plato’s cave, or that they are the Three Magi, outside the tomb of Jesus. One of Giorgione’s last works before his death, it is said to have been finished by Sebastiano del Pombo, a Venetian artist who was highly influenced by Giorgione’s style.