Allegory of Temperance

Temperance, one of the four Cardinal Virtues, holds a bridle and a clock and stands beside an elephant. Sobriety holds a key and rests her foot on a dolphin. Meekness (?) receives flowers. The figures at the bottom of the composition represent Sloth, Envy and Hunger. In the sky above are Voluptuousness, Youth and Tranquillity.

This painting is one of a group of 10 modelli, or elaborated oil studies, made in preparation for the fresco projects that Giordano created for the Palazzo Medici Riccardi in Florence. This painting is connected with the ceiling of the Galleria.

Key facts

Artist dates
1634 - 1705
Full title
Allegory of Temperance
Date made
early 1680s
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
97 x 101.3 cm
Acquisition credit
Presented by the Trustees of Sir Denis Mahon's Charitable Trust through the Art Fund, 2013
Inventory number
Location in Gallery