Art: Confusion in Venice

"You know, until I saw this exhibit, I had a rather clear idea of Giorgione," a British tourist said last week, on emerging from Venice's current Giorgione show which spread out lavishly through one entire wing of the Ducal Palace. Most of Italy's art experts had reached the same state of confusion long before. Reason: almost everything about the Renaissance master, except his fame, is in doubt.

His birth date is unknown. No copy of his autograph is known to exist, and none of his paintings was signed. The only completely reliable contemporary reference...

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