Art on Screen Databasetm Full Record

© 1985-1997 Program for Art on Film, Inc. All rights reserved.

Click here to see an illustration from the film.

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Data: 11 min. col. 16mm; video
Year: 1988
Country of Prod'n: United States; Great Britain
Language: English
Producing Agency: Program for Art on Film, a joint venture of The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the J. Paul Getty Trust
Sources: Program for Art on Film; Films Incorporated Video
Int'l Sources:
Director: William Cran
Producer: Stephanie Tepper
Executive Producer:
Writer: William Cran
Camera: Walter Sieri; Anita Sieri
Editor: Rick Spurway
Narrator: Jonathan Pryce; Nicola Pagett
Music Composer: Christopher Wilson
Art Consultant: Cecil Gould
Addl Credits: Graphic Des.: David Raitt; Assoc. Prod.: Sarah Stacey; Animation Camera: Chris King
Synopsis: Explores various interpretations of the meaning of The Tempest, the early sixteenth-century masterpiece of the Italian painter Giorgione (1477/78-1510) which hangs in the Gallerie dell'Accademia in Venice. Discusses the mystery of the identities of the man and woman in the painting, and compares the figures to those in other paintings by the artist, including the fragments of frescoes in the Fondaco dei Tedeschi. Examines the results of X-ray photography, which reveal that there were no preparatory drawings. Analyzes the art historical significance of The Tempest, and contrasts its composition and technique with concurrent Venetian paintings. Shows the walls of Castelfranco, Giorgione's hometown, and points out their resemblance to those depicted in the painting. Presents woodcuts from Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, a book of erotic dreams published in Venice in 1499, and suggests their influence on the painting. A film by director William Cran and art historian Cecil Gould.
Genre Film: Criticism
Aud./Grade Level: High School; College/University; Adult
Suggested Uses: General Information; Teaching
Subject Headings: Painting -- Renaissance; Fresco painting -- Europe -- Italy -- Venice -- 16C 1500D

Assoc Concepts: Iconography
Artist's Name: Giorgione, (1477/78-1510), Italian painter (aka Giorgio da Castelfranco)
Artist on Camera: No
Awards: Barcelona Cinemadart, 1989
Evaluation: The opening shots were provocative and engaging, as were the questions posed. Unfortunately, the freshness deteriorated into self-consciousness and a rather arch posturing in the dual narration of male/female voices. The premise of solving a mystery is not a bad approach, but many evaluators found some of the special effects (especially the thunder and lightning) overly manipulative. Other effects --use of x-rays, dissolves, extracting figures from the painting and juxtaposing with others-- were informative. For a general public, presents the complexity of great art in general; implies how an artist put himself in a work. Provokes thought by constantly asking questions rather than giving definite answers, but so many questions are answered "Who knows?" that it risks inviting a response of "Who cares?" Some evaluators thought too much emphasis was placed on deciphering the "story" depicted by the painting and not enough on why this painting is considered a great work of art. Technical quality fair. Content and programming potential both fair to good.

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