Portrait of a Venetian Gentleman

Artist: Giorgione
Original name: Gentiluomo con un libro
Style: High Renaissance
Genre: portrait
Date: 1510
Copyright: Public domain

The expression of calculating, almost cruel, appraisal—amplified by his closed fist—gives this man an aggressive air, but we do not know his identity. The inscription on the parapet does not help. These letters, VVO, have been interpreted as a form of the Latin vivo (in life). This would suggest that the portrait was painted from life and that it confers on both subject and painter a measure of immortality. It may more likely, however, be an abbreviation of a humanist motto, perhaps virtus vincit omnia (virtue conquers all).