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 Andromedain 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.
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.