Documented in the collection of Gabriele Vendramin by Marcantonio Michiel in 1530 and then in the five and seventeenth-century family inventories, the Tempest follows Giorgione's other masterpiece, La Vecchia, in the collections of the merchant Cristoforo Orsetti and then reappears in the Manfrin collection, from where it was purchased. by the Italian State in 1856 and destined for the Gallerie dell'Accademia.
The mysterious iconography, centered on two characters whose relationship is not immediately understood - a young soldier and a naked mother nursing her child - has stimulated the most varied interpretations, also in relation to the meaning of the landscape and the sky torn by the lightning that gives the painting its title. Lately (Falciani) it has been proposed to read the iconography of the painting in relation to a commendable poem by the Vendramin family that would identify the soldier with a staff as Silvio, second son of Aeneas, while in the background his mother Lavinia when she was born in the forest. (hence the name). The dates proposed are also quite varied, ranging from 1503 to 1509. However, it is more plausible to think of the Tempest commissioned by Gabriele Vendramin around 1504, a decisive year for his personal journey, and therefore chronologically more distant from the "monumental" painting of Giorgione dei his later years.