Campbell’s interpretation, entitled “Giorgione’s Tempesta, Studiolo Culture and the Renaissance Lucretius,” appeared in 2003 in Renaissance Quarterly, 56-2 (Summer, 2003). He examined most of the major iconographical elements in the painting. Let’s look at them one by one.
“could be classed with a series of depictions of family-like groups in landscapes from around 1510-15, such as the Landscape with Halbardier, Woman and Two Children from the Palma Vecchio circle and the Nursing Mother with Halbardier in a Landscape attributed to Titian. However, while these other Venetian works correspond in some formal respects to Giorgione’s picture, there is no consequent basis for the assertion that they reproduce its subject and its meaning.” (307)
In fact, even though the Man in each of these paintings carries a halberd, they are both depictions of episodes in the sojourn of the Holy Family in Egypt. If it weren’t for the halberd, no one would take the one with two nude children embracing as anything other that the meeting of the Infant Jesus with John the Baptist on the return from Egypt. *
In any event, we know that when Vendramin, whether or not he was the original owner of the Tempest, went into his camerino to contemplate, his walls were covered primarily with “sacred” subjects. It was not for nothing that Titian would later depict him and his family venerating a relic of the True Cross.
*The first painting is now in the Philadelphia Art Museum where it is labeled, "Allegory." The second is in Harvard's Fogg Art Museum and is usually called, "Rustic Idyll." These two paintings were discussed previously on Giorgione et al....