Italian painter, master of Venetian school. Tiepolo was famous in his own lifetime as a superb painter in fresco and a brilliant draftsman. A highly inventive artist, he could create spectacular effects in difficult sites, from the narrow gallery at the patriarchal palace at Udine in the mid-1720s to the vast staircase ceiling in the Residenz at Werzburg in the early 1750s. Contemporaries recognized his spirited, dynamic approach to subject matter and his frankly sensuous manner of painting. Tiepolo is comparable in his restless energy and imaginative power to Peter Paul Rubens, and essentially he worked with a similar baroque language of myth, allegory, and history, which he infused with a sense of freshness and modernity. His approach to religious art is characterized by candor and naturalism, while he was responsive to the different concerns of patrons and viewers at a time when the church was faced with new kinds of devotion and criticism. With the advent of neoclassicism, Tiepolo's art fell from favor: In an age that prized archaeological correctness, rationality, and ideals of improvement, his witty, Veronese-inspired conception of historical or classical subjects seemed frivolous, while his visually seductive qualities were seen as inimical to the serious intellectual aims of the new art. Nevertheless, his drawings and oil sketches continued to appeal to collectors, including Antonio Canova. The son of a Venetian shipping merchant, Tiepolo was apprenticed in 1710 to Gregorio Lazzarini (1655C1730), an artist of international reputation patronized by prominent Venetian families. Before becoming an independent master, he worked in the household of Doge Giovanni Corner; members of the Corner family were to be his most steadfast and liberal patrons. Lazzarini encouraged his pupils to study Venetian sixteenth-century art, and Tiepolo made drawings of some famous works for publication in Domenico Lovisa's Gran Teatro di Venezia of 1717. His early involvement with the thriving Venetian engraving and publishing world was renewed in 1724 when he made drawings of antique sculpture as illustrations for Scipione Maffei's Verona Illustrata, an experience that gave Tiepolo an imaginative empathy with fragmentary antique remains, which recur in his drawings, etchings, and paintings. As well as studying the art of the past, Tiepolo looked to the tenebrism of Federico Bencovich (1677C1753) and the realism and monumentality of Giovanni Battista Piazzetta (1682C1754). In 1719 Tiepolo married Cecilia Guardi, with whom he was to have nine children. By then, the artist was working for a network of mercantile and noble patrons on religious and secular subjects.
ID: 51258 Allegory of the Planets and Continents 1752
Oil on canvas,
185,4 x 139,4 cm