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Giovanni Battista Tiepolo BiographyItalian Rococo painter, etcher, frescoist, printmaker & draftsman
born 1696 - died 1770
Also known as: Giovanni Battista Teipolo, Giovanni Battista Tiepoli, Giambattista Tiepolo, Gio. Battista Tiepolo
Antonio Guardi (1699-1760) in
Guardi (1712-1793) in 1719
The Venetian Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696–1770) was arguably the greatest painter of eighteenth-century Europe and the outstanding first master of the Grand Manner. His art celebrates the imagination by transposing the world of ancient history and myth, the scriptures, and sacred legends into a grandiose, even theatrical language. Giovanni Battista Tiepolo art, with its genial departures from convention and its brilliant use of costumed splendor, celebrates the notion of artistic caprice (capriccio) and fantasy (fantasia). In his hands, the informal oil sketch (1977.1.3) was raised to a primary art form, worthy to be collected alongside finished Giovanni Battista Tiepolo paintings. For his incomparable fresco decorations—such as those in Palazzo Labia, Venice, depicting the story of Anthony and Cleopatra—he collaborated with a specialist in perspective, Girolamo Mengozzi Colonna (1688–ca. 1766), who also occasionally designed sets for opera.
Colonna's perspective framework for
Tiepolo's frescoes is crucial to
understanding the eighteenth-century notion
of painting as a staged fiction—something
intended to involve the viewer on a purely
imaginative level. This was in line with
theater practice of the day—especially
opera. There is a close analogy between the
goals of Tiepolo painting and that of the
leading poet and librettist Pietro
Matastasio (1698–1782), who, although born
in Rome, was at the court of Dresden:
"Dreams and fables I fashion; and even while
I sketch and elaborate fables and dreams
upon paper … I so enter into them that I
weep and am offended at ills I invented. But
am I wiser when art does not deceive me?"
The greatest Giovanni Battista Tiepolo paintings are unquestionably the frescoed ceilings he carried out for churches in Venice and villas and palaces in Italy, Germany (Residenz, Würzburg), and Spain (Royal Palace, Madrid). The high point is marked by the ceilings painted between 1750 and 1753 for the Prince-Bishop Carl Philipp von Greiffenklau in Würzburg.
|Giovanni Baptista Tiepolo was the last of the great Venetian decorators, the purest exponent of the Italian Rococo, and arguably the greatest painter of the 18th century. Giovanni Battista Tiepolo was trained under an obscure painter named Lazzarini but was really formed by the study of Sebastiano Ricci and Piazzetta among living painter and Veronese among the older masters.|
Charles commissioned seven altarpieces for
Aranjuez, but Tiepolo's last years in Spain
were embittered by intrigues on behalf of
Mengs, the representative of that
Neoclassicism which was soon to condemn his
kind of splendid and carefree painting as
frivolous. Giovanni Battista Tiepolo died suddenly in Madrid.
His enormous output of frescoes and altarpieces was partly due to his practice (like Rubens before him) of painting small 'modelli' which, when approved by the client, could be carried out by his skilled assistants under his own supervision. Scores of these modelli and sketches survive, together with hundreds of drawings. Giovanni Battista Tiepolo painted very few portraits. He also etched many plates, and, with Marco Ricci, was one of the founders of the great school of 18-century Venetian etchers.
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