Giovanni Battista aka Gianbattista or Giambattista Tiepolo was a prolific Venetian painter and print-maker, born on March 5, 1696. Tiepolo began his artistic career at the age of 14, in 1710. Nine years later, in 1719, Tiepolo married Maria Cecilia Guardi and they had 7 children. (Left: Finding of Moses).
During his career he decorated a large reception room of Ca’ Dolfin on the Grand Canal of Venice (ca. 1726–1729) and canvases for churches including many others such as: Verolanuova (1735–1740), for the Scuola dei Carmini (1740–1747), a ceiling for the Palazzi Archinto and Casati-Dugnani in Milan (1731), the Colleoni Chapel in Bergamo (1732–1733), a ceiling for the Gesuati (Santa Maria del Rosario) in Venice of St. Dominic Instituting the Rosary (1737–1739), Palazzo Clerici, Milan (1740), and for the ballroom of the Palazzo Labia in Venice (now a television studio), showing the Story of Cleopatra (1745–1750) to mention but a few.
Tiepolo returned to Venice in 1753. He was now in demand locally, as well as abroad where he was elected President of the Academy of Padua. He went on to complete theatrical frescoes for churches; the Triumph of Faith for the Chiesa della Pietà; panel frescoes for Ca’ Rezzonico (which now also houses his ceiling fresco from the Palazzo Barbarigo); and paintings for patrician villas in the Venetian countryside, such as Villa Valmarana in Vicenza and an elaborate panegyric ceiling for the Villa Pisani in Stra.
He collaborated with Girolamo Mengozzi Colonna, who also designed sets for opera. Highlights from this collaboration showed the increasing tendency towards composition as a staged fiction in Tiepolo’s frescoes.
The architecture of the Banquet fresco also recalls that of Veronese’s Wedding at Cana. In 1757, he painted an altar piece for the Thiene family, representing the apotheosis of Saint Cajetan.
In 1761, Charles III commissioned Tiepolo to create a ceiling fresco to decorate the throne room of the Royal Palace of Madrid. The panegyric theme is the Apotheosis of Spain and has allegorical depictions recalling the dominance of Spain in the Americas and across the globe.
Tiepolo also painted two other ceilings in the palace and carried out many private commissions in Spain. However he suffered from the jealousy and the bitter opposition of the rising champion of Neo-Classicism, Anton Raphael Mengs.
- Tiepolo died in Madrid on March 27, 1770.
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