Portrait of Warrior with his Equerry Giorgione Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Portrait of Warrior with his Equerry is one of the paintings attributed to Venetian artist, Giorgione. However, no difinitive evidence exists to prove that. Some historians have attributed the piece to various other painters including Paolo Morando "Il Cavazzola."

Experts ascribed this piece to Giorgione because of the way the half-tones in the painting turn into deep shade, a style for which the Italian painter was famous. It is thought that the artwork was among the last ones the artist near the end of his life. Portraits were some of Giorgione's favourite subjects. Historians date it to 1509. Giorgione died in 1510.

The painting features two sharply dressed men. One is a knight in full gear, and this is the warrior alluded in the title. He is wearing what looks like ceremonial clothing. It's all black with hints of brown and gold around the shoulders. A sword with a beautiful customised handle is stuck on the table in front of the knight. His right hand is holding on to the sword while the other crosses his chest. A helmet sits next to the sword. It's also in black and gold. The warrior has a relaxed look although he seems to be waiting for something.

Behind the knight in black is his equerry. He is dressed in a red coat over a gold tunic. It is lined with gold around the hem and shoulder. Two white tassels are visible. He looks to be wearing part of a body armour around his neck. The servant has a white hat on and seems to be in the middle of a conversation. His gaze focuses on something beyond the scene while his hands are busy helping the warrior.

Even with the knight dressed in black and the darkness of the setting, Giorgione still made the scene look well-balanced. Light effects illuminate the faces of the two men, creating an equilibrium. He strives for harmony in the scene and achieves it. Giorgione distributes colour and shade uniformly, which was part of his technique. The two subjects are relaxed and seem to be preoccupied with whatever is going on.

It's unclear if the choice of dressing is related or imagined. If Giorgione was painting a real knight, the gear could have been the official uniform. Whatever the case, the use of colour in the scene contributes to the balance. Although only a part of the red coat is visible, it offsets the dominant black tones. The gold and browns scattered all over the scene blend in perfectly. The warrior depicted in this portrait was thought to be that of Gattamelata, a famous captain in Italy who lived between 1370 and 1443.