Giovanni Battista Tiepolo: The Empire of Flora

The Empire of Flora: Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

The Empire of Flora is Giovanni Battista Tiepolo’s version of the Roman Springtime festival Floralis and simultaneously a vision of a perpetual Spring in a land reigned over by the goddess. Flora was a goddess of fertility and the onset of natural growth in the Roman year and is placed right of center on her chariot in a proud pose looking out at us.

There is a great commotion in the picture, with offerings being made, a tambour being struck behind Flora, and even to putti wrestling, presumably from an excess of drinking. Birds auspicious of abundance fly in the windy sky over a distant golden fountain of statues, all of which delicately signals the balance, sometimes disordered, of richness and excess. Tiepolo painted this picture in 1743.

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo’s The Empire of Flora is in the Fine Arts Museum in San Francisco.

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