Saturday, 24 March 2012

Giorgione - La Tempestà

The works of Giorgio Barbarelli, Giorgio da Castelfranco, known to the world as Giorgione, were often mysterious in their subject matter, but none will have provoked such controversy and discussion as his painting La Tempestà, described in around 1530 as a "Landscape on canvas with storm, gypsy woman and soldier".

Interpretation of the work was complicated further when X-rays revealed that the artist had originally intended a second nude in place of the soldier. Also the title suggests that it is the storm which is the subject and not the characters.

One suggestion is that the work represents the Rest on the Flight into Egypt, depicting Mary with the infant, and Joseph standing nearby. But where is the faithful donkey? Others interpretors see it as a scene from classical mythology or as an allegorical impression of paradise.

The painting is one of Georgione's last works dating from c. 1510 and is on display in Venice's Gallerie dell'Accademia. 


  1. The donkey or ass is essential for a "Flight into Egypt', but not necessary for the "Rest on the flight into Egypt." See "Giorgione et al" blog or my website at

    Thanks for mentioning my interpretation of the Tempest.


    1. Many thanks your pertinent comment on the donkey. My usual insouciance to blame. I've added a link to your quite excellent website. Regards.