Unraveling Giorgione;s Tempest

Giorgione's Tempest is one of the most controversial paintings of the Renaissance in terms of its information deficiency. Not only is the painter Giorgione, the most mysterious artists in Venetian Renaissance, but also is the painting itself stands as a milestone in art history that endows Tempest the significant role in art world. Despite a vast number of readings, no single analysis has stood the test of time, least of all that of Marcantonio Michiel, the earliest interpretation in 1530.1 Following that a vast controversy has evolved in the next 500 years and countless variant reinterpretations developed well, which refer to six main topics on the artwork: the patron and genre, the figures, the specific time of painting, the background on painting and the techniques Giorgione used.In this essay, I am identifying assumptions towards those topics and the legacy of Tempest.
Patron: It has been assumed that the Venetian nobleman Gabriele Vendramin commissioned the Tempest. This assumption is largely as a result of the patrician connoisseur Michiel's description in 1530 as he was a reliable witness closed to Giorgione's period who indicated the deals of artworks.2 The reason Vendramin commissioned Giorgione to paint this picture was inspired by the marriages of his relatives.3 However, as there is no proof many have disputed this, pointing out that he could have purchased it. Giorgione had a formidable contemporary reputation as a painter to wealthy Venetian art collectors. So the assumption that Vendramin commissioned the painting is not unreasonable with or without any documentary evidence. If he did not commission the painting, it would have been commissioned by someone very similar in social status to him.
Subject: For 500 years the universal admiration of Giorgione’s Tempest has gone hand in
hand with the universal disagreement about the “subject” and meaning of the painting. Despite a number of acceptable in…