Tessa, What About The Gypsy Woman?


Giorgione, The Tempest (c. 1508)

A verdant place this was, lush green
and blue–the color of the sky
brushed by storm–so Tessa, why
did someone suggest a desert?
A desert? What Manet wanted was
a mood, so the landscape stood
as the main trope.

The woman was a gypsy, unclothed,
nursing her infant poised on one
side, not on her lap, and how this
would expose her, unsheathed, to
your eye–voyeurism seemingly the
point–while a man stood looking,
fancy schmancy, with a long staff.

The feminine posed as subject–
how brave the artist–and holding
her child. She would’ve washed
in the water, and dressed, and
sometime in the evening, she’d
danced the gypsy flamenco, to
the sound of a long wail.

Prompt: So this is Day 2 of the July writing challenge. Today’s painting again had two figures, and in it the man is looking at the woman. The woman, nude and suckling a child, is looking directly into the viewer. What is the meaning of the female gaze? It has been said that the painting is poetic and evocative and asking us to engage. The artist is Venetian and compared to his contemporary, Giovanni Bellini, his work of Madonna and child is off center, and does not adhere to strict religious iconography. If you had to write a story around the painting, what would it be?


3 thoughts on “Tessa, What About The Gypsy Woman?

  1. Nice work. 🙂 This painting intrigues me. Whatever my story about this was, it would need to explain why she’s naked, but being a wannabe-comedian, I would make her a foil. “Oh my gawd, it was just so hot that day. Ridiculous hot. I didn’t think anybody would care if I fed my baby naked because…..oh gawd…so hot.” 🙂


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