1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Bordone, Paris
BORDONE, PARIS (1495–1570), Venetian painter, was born at Treviso, and entered the bottega of Titian in 1509. Vasari, to whom we are indebted for nearly all the facts of Bordone’s life—later research has not added much to our knowledge—holds that he did not spend many years with Titian and set himself to imitate the manner of Giorgione to the utmost of his power. As a matter of fact, the Giorgionesque traits in Bordone’s earlier works are derived entirely from Titian, whom he imitated so closely that to this day some of his paintings pass under Titian’s name. Crowe and Cavalcaselle and Dr Bode ascribe to Bordone the “Baptism of Christ” in the Capitoline gallery, but Morelli sees in it an early work of Titian. Paris Bordone subsequently executed many important mural paintings in Venice, Treviso and Vicenza, all of which have perished. In 1538 he was invited to France by Francis I., at whose court he painted many portraits, though no trace of them is to be found in French collections, the two portraits at the Louvre being later acquisitions. On his return journey he undertook works of great importance for the Fugger palace at Augsburg, which again have been lost sight of. Bordone’s pictures are of very unequal merit. They have a certain nobility of style, and that golden harmony of colour which he derived from Titian, together with the realistic conception of the human figure and the dignified character of his portraiture. On the other hand, his nudes are a little coarse in form, and the action of his figures is frequently unnatural and affected. A true child of the Renaissance, he also painted a number of religious pictures, numerous mythological scenes, allegories, nymphs, cupids and subjects from Ovid’s fables, but he excelled as a portraitist. His principal surviving work is the “Fisherman and Doge” at the Venice Academy. The National Gallery, London, has a “Daphnis and Chloe” and a portrait of a lady, whilst a “Holy Family” from his brush is at Bridgwater House. Other important works of his are the “Madonna” in the Tadini collection at Lovere, the paintings in the Duomo of Treviso, two mythological pictures at the Villa Borghese and the Doria palace in Rome, the “Chess Players” in Berlin, a very little-known portrait of superb quality in the possession of the landgrave of Hesse at Kronberg, and a “Baptism of Christ” in Philadelphia. Besides these, there are examples of his art in Bergamo, Milan, Genoa, Padua, Siena, Venice, Florence, Munich, Dresden and Vienna.
Beyond some references in general works on Italian painting, very little has been written on Paris Bordone since the days of Vasari. In 1900 the committee of the fourth centenary of Paris Bordone, Treviso, published L. Barlo and G. Biscaro’s Della Vita e delle Opere di Paris Bordone; and the Nuova Antologia (November 16, 1900) contains a sixteen-page paper on Paris Bordone by P. G. Molmenti. (P. G. K.)