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Giambattista Tiepolo

Venice 1696 - 1770 Madrid
Price range
0 – 3,000,000 USD +
Giambattista Tiepolo was the greatest Venetian and Italian painter of the eighteenth-century rococo, the greatest painter of illusionist ceilings since Correggio and the finest propagandist for the past glories of a city in terminal decline.

Tiepolo achieved an international reputation and was invited to Germany and Spain. His work has sometimes earned the disapproval of later critics, notably Bernard Berenson, as too worldly. His early works reflect the tenebrism of his predecessor Piazzetta (1682–1754). His mature style is heralded in his frescoes at the episcopal palace in Udine (1726–29) which proclaim him the heir to the sumptuous sixteenth-century colorism of Veronese (1528–88). His greatest innovation in ceiling decoration was a newly atmospheric suggestion of a limitless heavenly empyrean where gods and mortals disport themselves in a sunny and expansive world free from care. His frescoes required numerous preparatory sketches, which today are widely dispersed in public collections, enabling his virtuosity to be enjoyed on a small scale and without craning one’s neck! A typical sketch is the Perseus and Andromeda in the Frick collection, New York (1730–31), showing a joyful Panglossian couple with the manacle on Andromeda’s wrist the only hint of her recent peril. Not all his frescoes were illusionist, notably his Banquet of Cleopatra in the Palazzo Labia (mid 1740s) where Tiepolo quite specifically parades himself as the heir to Veronese.

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Selected artworks

Top 3 auction prices

4,222,395 $
5,906,500 $
17,349,000 $


The sales are: Christie’s London – 2 Dec 2008 lot 40 (2,841,250 GBP), Christie’s New York – 25 Jan 2012 lot 38, Sotheby’s New York – 29 Jan 2020 lot 61.
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Notable exhibitions

Venice, Ca’ Rezzonico, Giambattista Tiepolo 1696–1770, 5 September – 9 December 1996; travelled to New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 24 January – 27 April 1997. Curated by Keith Christiansen.

Stuttgart, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Tiepolo: The Best Painter of Venice, 10 November 2019 – 2 February 2020. Curated by Annette Hojer.


Books on Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

Roberto Calasso, Tiepolo Pink, trans. Alastair McEwen, New York, 2011.

Filippo Pedrocco, Giambattista Tiepolo, Milan, 2002.

Keith Christiansen, ed., Giambattista Tiepolo 1696-1770, exh. cat., New York, 1991.

Michael Levey, Painting in Eighteenth-Century Venice, New Haven, 1980.

Antonio Mari Zanetti, Della pittura veneziana e delle opere pubbliche de veneziani maestri, Venice, 1771, reprinted 1972.

G.B. Albrizzi, Studi di Pittura, Venice, 1760.

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