The thempest

Giorgione - 1508
oil on canvas - 82x73 cm
Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venezia

The thempest is one of the most enigmatic works in the history of art. It has more or less thirty different interpretations: biblical, mythological, allegoric, etc.

This painting represents a natural landscape with architectural elements and three visible characters in foreground. In the background, a storm is coming. These architectural elements have several interpretations: it is believed that the represented city could be Padova, or Treviso crossed by the river. These architectural elements are painted with different tonalities, which enter into contrast with the greyish colour of the clouds torn by the lightning.

Giorgione is the first painter who represents in his work the true peak of the storm, it is noticed thanks to the lightning.

In first plan, there are three characters on the right, there is a woman sat over a naked average fountain that breast-feeds the child and the spectator looks. On the left side there is a young man who looks, supported against a stick.

The painting has several interpretations: the woman and the child are Eva and and the young man is Adam, the woman represents Venere and the young Mars. In a biblical and religious interpretation, it is believed that it is the scene of the meeting of little Moses, who is saved by the daughter of the Pharaoh. The characters are stocked, there is no dialogue, and they are divided by a brook. In any case, beyond each hypothesis on the hidden meanings, the most evident subject is without doubt the colour.

The sweet modulation of the tones manages to create the illusion of a perspectively infinite space. As in the reality, figures and landscape appear between them harmoniously amalgamated, creating a perfect completion the one of other.