Tiepolo: Wikis


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See also Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo (or Giandomenico Tiepolo); or Lorenzo Baldissera Tiepolo, both sons of Giovanni Battista.

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (March 5, 1696 – March 27, 1770), also known as Gianbattista or Giambattista Tiepolo, was a Venetian painter and printmaker. He was prolific, and worked not only in the region of Veneto or Venetia, one of Italy's twenty regions, but also in Germany and Spain.

Death of Hyacinth.
Apotheosis of Spain in Royal Palace of Madrid.




Early life (1696-1726)

Born in Venice, Tiepolo was the youngest of six children born to Orsetta, Tiepolo's mother and his father, Domenico Tiepolo, a sea captain. While the Tiepolo surname belongs to a patrician family, Giambattista's father did not claim patrician status. The future artist was baptised in his parish church (San Pietro di Castello) as Giovanni Battista, in honour of his godfather, a Venetian nobleman called Giovanni Battista Dorià. His father Domenico died a year after his birth, leaving Orsetta in difficult financial circumstances.

Giambattista was initially a pupil of Gregorio Lazzarini, but the influences from elder contemporaries such as Sebastiano Ricci and Giovanni Battista Piazzetta are stronger in his work. At 19 years of age, Tiepolo completed his first major commission, the Sacrifice of Isaac (now in the Accademia). He left Lazzarini studio in 1717, and was received into the Fraglia or guild of painters.

In 1719, Tiepolo was married to Maria Cecilia Guardi, sister of two contemporary Venetian painters Francesco and Giovanni Antonio Guardi. Together, Tiepolo and his wife had nine children. Four daughters and three sons survived childhood. Two sons, Domenico and Lorenzo, painted with him as his assistants and achieved some independent recognition. His third son became a priest.

Early mature work (1726-50)

A patrician from the Friulian town of Udine, Dionisio Delfino, commissioned a fresco decoration of the chapel and palace from the young Tiepolo (completed 1726-1728). Tiepolo's first masterpieces in Venice were a cycle of enormous canvases painted to decorate a large reception room of Ca' Dolfin on the Grand Canal of Venice (ca. 1726–1729), depicting ancient battles and triumph.

These early masterpieces, novel for Venetian frescoes in their luminosity, brought him many commissions. He painted canvases for churches such as that of Verolanuova (1735-40), for the Scuola dei Carmini (1740-47), and the Chiesa degli Scalzi (1743-1744; now destroyed) in Cannaregio, a ceiling for the Palazzi Archinto and Casati-Dugnani in Milan (1731), the Colleoni Chapel in Bergamo (1732-1733), a ceiling for the Gesuati (Santa Maria del Rosario) in Venice of St. Dominic Instituting the Rosary (1737-39), Palazzo Clerici, Milan (1740), decorations for Villa Cordellini at Montecchio Maggiore (1743-1744) and for the ballroom of the Palazzo Labia, now a television studio in Venice, showing the Story of Cleopatra (1745-1750).

Tiepolo frescoes the Würzburg Residenz (1750-53)

By 1750, Tiepolo's reputation was firmly established throughout Europe. That year, at the behest of Prince Bishop Karl Philip von Greiffenklau, he traveled to Würzburg where he resided for three years and executed ceiling paintings in the New Residenz palace (completed 1744). His painting for the grandiose Neumann-designed entrance staircase (Treppenhaus) is a massive ceiling fresco at 7287 square feet (677 m²), and was completed in collaboration with his sons, Giandomenico and Lorenzo[1]. His Allegory of the Planets and Continents depicts Apollo embarking on his daily course; deities around him symbolize the planets; allegorical figures (on the cornice) represent the four continents Europe, Asia, Africa and America. He included a self-portrait beside a portrait of his son Giandomenico in the Europe section of this fresco[2]. He also frescoed the Kaisersaal salon.

Return to Venice and Veneto (1753-1770)

Tiepolo returned to Venice in 1753. He was now in demand locally, as well as abroad where he was elected President of the Academy of Padua. He went on to complete theatrical frescoes for churches; the Triumph of Faith for the Chiesa della Pietà; panel frescos for Ca' Rezzonico (which now also holds his ceiling fresco from the Palazzo Barbarigo); and paintings for patrician villas in the Venetian countryside, such as Villa Valmarana in Vicenza and an elaborate panegyric ceiling for the now nearly-vacant Villa Pisani in Stra.

In celebrated frescoes at the Palazzo Labia, he depicted two frescoes on the life of Cleopatra: Meeting of Anthony and Cleopatra[1] and Banquet of Cleopatra,[2] as well as a central ceiling fresco depicts Triumph of Bellerophon over Time. He collaborated with an expert in perspective, Girolamo Mengozzi Colonna. Colonna who also designed sets for opera highlights the increasing tendency towards composition as a staged fiction in his frescoes. The architecture of theBanquet fresco also recalls Veronese's Wedding at Cannae. In 1757, he painted the altar piece commissioned by the family Thiene, the work represents the apotheosis of Saint Cajetan, the altar piece is in the church of hamlet of Rampazzo in the Camisano Vicentino.

Frescoes for the Royal Palace in Madrid

In 1761, Charles III commissioned Tiepolo to create a ceiling fresco to decorate the throne room of the Royal Palace of Madrid. The panegyric theme is the Apotheosis of Spain and has allegorical depictions recalling the dominance of Spain in the Americas and across the globe. In Spain, he incurred the jealousy and the bitter opposition of the rising champion of Neoclassicism, Anton Raphael Mengs.

Tiepolo died in Madrid on March 27, 1770.

After his death, the rise of stern Neoclassicism and the post-revolutionary decline of royal absolutism led to the slow decline of the Tiepolo style, but had failed to dent his reputation. By 1772, Tiepolo's son was sufficiently famous to be documented as painter to Doge Giovanni Cornaro, in charge of the decoration of Palazzo Mocenigo a San Polo.

Critical assessment and legacy

The Allegory of the Planets and Continents at New Residenz.

In his most fluid elaborations, Tiepolo has closest affinity to Ricci, Piazzetta, and Federico Bencovich. He is a shadowless fresco artist, a sunnier rococo Pietro da Cortona. His sumptuous historical set-pieces are enveloped in a regal luminosity. He is principally known for his fresco work, particularly his panegyric ceilings. These followed the Baroque tradition begun a century before by Pietro da Cortona, converting roof to painted sky, elevating petty aristocrats to divine status, and allowing for vast compositions that merged with the delicate ornamentation of the stucco frames. Like Luca Giordano, his palette was muted, almost water-color like. Like Giordano, he was prolific. With an unrivaled Sprezzatura, he painted worlds of fresco, and some such as the walls of Villa Valmarana in Vicenza, not only peer into the mythologic scenes, but are meant to relocate viewers into their midst. The earliest example of this is perhaps his canvases in the Ca' Dolfin, which allowed Tiepolo to introduce exuberant costumes, classical sculpture, and action that appears to spill from the frames into the room. Originally set into recesses, they were surrounded with frescoed frames.

While his painting is infused with the Venetian spirit, his luminosity is not seen in the previous masters; however, Tiepolo is considered the last "Olympian" painter of the Venetian Republic. Like Titian before him, Tiepolo was an international star, treasured by royalty far afield for his ability to depict glory in fresco.

His children painted figures with a design similar to that of their father, but with distinctive, including genre, styles.

List of works

Paintings before 1740

Work Date Location Link
The Martyrdom of St. Bartholomew 1722 San Stae, Venice
The Rape of Europa c. 1725 Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice
Allegory of the Power of Eloquence c. 1725 Courtauld Institute, Modello for Palazzo Sandi, Venice
Frescoes 1726 Episcopal palace, Udine
Perseus & Andromeda 1730 Frick Collection
Education of the Virgin 1732 S. Maria della Consolazione (Fava), Venice
Angel rescuing Hagar 1732 Scuola di San Rocco, Venice
John the Baptist preaching 1732-1733 Cappella Colleoni, Bergamo
Beheading of John the Baptist 1732-1733 Cappella Colleoni, Bergamo
Scourge of the Serpents 1732-1735 Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice
Joseph receiving ring from pharaoh 1732-1735 Dulwich Picture Gallery
Triumph of Zephyr and Flora 1734-1735 Museo del Settecento Veneziano, Ca' Rezzonico, Venice
Jupiter and Danaë 1736 Universitet Konsthistoriska Institutionen, Stockholm
Pope St. Clement Adoring the Trinity 1737-1738 Alte Pinakothek, Munich
Saints Augustin, Louis de France, Jean l'evangeliste et un eveque 1737-1738 Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille
Institution of the Rosary 1737-1739 Santa Maria del Rosario (Gesuati), Venice
Christ Carrying the Cross 1737-1738 Sant'Alvise, Venice
The Madonna of Mount Carmel 1730s Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan
Virgin with Six Saints 1737-1740 Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest

Works from 1740-1750

Work Date Location Link
The Virgin Appearing to St. Philip Neri 1740 Museo Diocesano, Camerino
The Gathering of Manna 1740-1742 Parrocchiale, Verolanuova
The Sacrifice of Melchizedek 1740-1742 Parrocchiale, Verolanuova
Virtue and Nobility putting Ignorance to Flight 1743 Norton Simon Museum(Pasadena, CA)
Empire of Flora 1743 The Legion of Honor(San Francisco, CA)
Time Unveiling Truth c. 1743 Museo Civico Palazzo Chiericati, Vicenza
The Banquet of Cleopatra 1743 National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne [3]
Worshippers 1743-1745 Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice
Apollo and Daphne 1744-1745 Musée du Louvre, Paris
Discovery of the True Cross c. 1745 Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice
Time Unveiling Truth c. 1745-1750 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Frescoes of the story of Cleopatra 1746 Palazzo Labia, Venice
The Virgin with 3 female Dominican Saints 1739-1748 Santa Maria del Rosario (Gesuati), Venice
Last Communion of St. Lucy 1747-1748 Santi Apostoli, Venice
The Glorification of the Barbaro Family 1749-1750 Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
St. James the Greater Conquering the Moors 1749-1750 Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest

Works after 1750

Work Date Location Link
Frescoes 1751-1753 Residenz, Wurzburg
Collecting Manna c.1751 National Museum of Serbia, Belgrade
Allegory of Planets and Continents 1752 Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
The Death of Hyacinth 1752-53 Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Madrid
Adoration of the Magi 1753 Alte Pinakothek, Munich
Coronation of the Virgin 1754 Kimbell Art Museum, Dallas (modelo for Ospedale della Pietà)
An Allegory with Venus and Time 1754-58 National Gallery, London
Frescoes from Roman mythology 1757 Villa Valmarana, Vicenza
A Seated Man and a Girl with a Pitcher c. 1755 National Gallery, London
The Theological Virtues c. 1755 Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Brussels
The Martyrdom of St. Agatha c. 1756 Staatliche Museen, Berlin
Allegory of Merit Accompanied by Nobility and Virtue 1757-58 Museo del Settecento Veneziano, Ca' Rezzonico, Venice
The Vision of St. Anne 1759 Gemäldegalerie, Dresden
Madonna of the Goldfinch c. 1760 National Gallery of Art, Washington
Woman with a Parrot 1760-61 Ashmolean Museum, Oxford
Apotheosis of the Pisani Family 1761-62 Villa Pisani, Stra
San Carlo Borromeo 1767-1769 Cincinnati Art Museum
The Immaculate Conception 1767-1769 Museo del Prado, Madrid
Glory of Spain 1762-1766 Throne Room of Royal Palace of Madrid
The Apotheosis of the Spanish Monarchy 1762-1766 Queen's Antechamber, Palacio Real, Madrid
Venus and Vulcan 1762-1766 Halberdiers' Room, Palacio Real, Madrid


  1. ^ Michael Levey, Painting in Eighteenth-Century Venice, rev. ed., Cornell University Press, 1980, 225-230
  2. ^ http://www.residenz-wuerzburg.de/englisch/residenz/treppe05.htm

Further reading

  • Barcham, William L. (1992). Giambattista Tiepolo. Thames and Hudson. ISBN 0-500-08054-2. 
  • Rizzi, Aldo (1971). The etchings of the Tiepolos. Electa. ISBN 0714814997. 
  • Aldo Rizzi, Il Tiepolo all'Arcivescovado di Udine, Milano 1965.
  • Aldo Rizzi, Tiepolo a Udine, Milano 1969.
  • Aldo Rizzi, le acqueforti dei Tiepolo, Milano, 1970.
  • Aldo Rizzi, La grafica del Tiepolo: le acqueforti, Milano 1971.
  • Aldo Rizzi, La mostra del Tiepolo, Milano 1971.
  • Aldo Rizzi, Giambattista Tiepolo, Milano 1990.
  • Aldo Rizzi, I Tiepolo a Udine, Milano 1996.

External links

Redirecting to Giovanni Battista Tiepolo


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