Giambattista Tiepolo


Giambattista Tiepolo (March 5, 1696 - March 27, 1770) was one of the most important venetian painters of the 18th century. He grew up as one of six children of a naval captain and ship owner (mercante) in the parish of San Domenico (sestiere of Castello). The family was not related with the noble family Tiepolo (Teupulo). In 1710, he became a scholar of the "state painter" Gregorio Lazzarini (1655-1730) in the neighbour parish of San Pietro di Castello.

Barbaro allegory
Allegory of the Barbaro family, around 1750
source / © Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Among his first independent works are two paintings of a series created for the church Santa Maria dei Derelitti, also known as the Ospedaletto: the Apostles and the Red Sea Crossing (1715/16?). The scholars are not sure about the exact dating of the paintings Tiepolo made for the Palazzo Zenobio. Lazzarini as well created ceiling paintings in the Ca'Zenobio that are still conserved in situ. From 1717 on, Tiepolo worked as an independent master. It is still not clear how much Lazzarini really has influenced the young Tiepolo. In the 1720s, he finally turned away from the 'chiaroscuro' of Giambattista Piazzetta and F. Bencovich and adapted, similar to Bambini und Bellucci, the style of Paolo Veronese (1528-1588). Apart from the colour composition, this fact becomes especially evident when regarding composition details, such as animals and the omnipresent halberts .

Tiepolo in venetian palaces

For the Palazzo Sandi, Tiepolo created two paintings (1724/25) that are today in the collection of the da Schio counts, and a ceiling fresco The power of eloquence..

Around 1734, several paintings were made for the decoration of Zaccaria Sagredo's Palazzo Sagredo. The Apotheosis of Venice is the last of these paintings that remains still in the palace; all other works have been dissipated. A frescoed Apotheosis of Admiral Vettor Pisani in the Palazzo Pisani Moretta was probably painted in the early 1740s, when the interior of the palace was thorougly redesigned in rococo style. Also the Doge's palace contains a Tiepolo: Neptune gifts Venice. In 1744/45, several allegories were created for the Palazzo Barbarigo Minotto. While parts of these paintings were transferred to the Ca'Rezzonico, the supraportes, sold in the 1960s, were given back to the palace in 2002. Among the most important works for the interior decoration of a venetian noble palace are the frescoes in the Palazzo Labia (around 1745). Gerolamo Mengozzi, also named Colonna, was responsible for the trompe-l'-oeil architecture. Before his departure to Würzburg in Northern Bavaria, where he created the world's largest fresco in the archbishops' new residence, Tiepolo painted the allegory of the Barbaro family, originally in the Palazzo Barbaro. today in the Metropolitan Museum New York. Out of the portraits of members of the Cornaro family, which once hung in their palace on the Campo San Polo, only one remains in Venice (Doge Giovanni II Cornaro, now Egidio Martini collection in the Ca'Rezzonico). The series of portraits in the Ca' Dolfin was dissipated in the second half of the 19th century. One of these paintings, a Portrait of a member of the Dolfin family, Procuratore e Generale da Mar, can be found today in the Querini Stampalia museum in Venice. A ceiling painting that once belonged to the decoration of the Palazzo Correr at S. Fosca was also removed in the 19th century and later sold to Cologne, where it was destroyed during the Second World War. Two friezes painted by his son Giandomenico, also from the palazzo Correr, were bought by the Singer-de Polignac in the early 20th century and remain still today in the Palazzo Contarini. Two frescoes in the Ca'Rezzonico, among those the allegory created for the marriage of Lodovico Rezzonico and Faustina Savorgnan, can be seen during a visit of the palace museum.

Tiepolo also worked for patricians from Vicenza. Among the most important works is the series of frescoes in the Villa Valmarana ai Nani (1757) and several paintings in palaces of Vicenza. In 1762, Tiepolo left his home country together with his sons Giandomenico and Lorenzo for Spain. For Charles III, they created frescoes in the Palacio Real. Giambattista Tiepolo died in 1770 in Madrid.



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