A moment

I am staying indoors today, for various very dull reasons. Making good use of the time, I am going to walk my daily 6 miles via laps of the house whilst listening to music. I gave a first listen to Richard and Linda Thompson's "Shoot Out the Lights" on which my favourite song is Wall of Death.

Then I came across a stunning painting - "The Tempest" by Venetian painter Giorgione.  Unlike many of his contemporaries, Giorgione painted mostly for private collectors.  He never signed or titled his work and always left their subject matter ambiguous. Art Historians have debated for centuries whether the scene in the Tempest shows Adam and Eve; or Paris and a nymph; or a shepherd seeing Dionysus, son of Zeus being hidden from Zeus's angry wife Hera; or Moses, just rescued from the Nile.

For me, the triumph of the painting is not its thematic obscurity but the way it captures a moment in time with great accuracy. A beautiful rural scene (idyllic for Venetians who lived in very cramped conditions) just at the moment of a flash of lightning, as a skilled photographer would today. The accuracy of the light and shade in the picture is a great early example of natural realism that would be followed by many painters in the following centuries and then reinterpreted by the Impressionists. 

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