Giovanni Battista Tiepolo: The Empire of Flora

The Empire of Flora: Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

The Empire of Flora is a 1743 mythological painting by Italian Rococo artist Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. It is located in the Fine Arts Museum in San Francisco, California.

Analysis of Tiepolo’s The Empire of Flora

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 wrestling, presumably from excessive drinking. Birds auspicious of abundance fly in the windy sky over a distant golden fountain of statues, all delicately signaling the balance, sometimes disordered, of richness and excess.


Flora, in mythology, is often associated with the goddess of flowers and spring blooming. The concept of a floral deity or nature goddess is present in various mythologies, each with its own representation and symbolism.

In Roman mythology, Flora was the goddess of flowers, vegetation, and fertility. Her festival, Floralia, was celebrated in late April to early May, marking the beginning of the flowering season. Flora was often depicted with flowers and associated with the beauty of nature.

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