Lot 168
  • 168

Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo Venice 1727 - 1804

25,000 - 35,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo
  • recto: studies for the reception in honour of the visit of the emperor henry III to the villa contariniverso: study of an umbrella
  • black chalk heightened with white chalk on blue paper (recto and verso)

Catalogue Note

These chalk studies by Giandomenico record very precisely a section of the figures and two separate details in the frescoes painted by his father Giambattista in 1750, for the Villa Pisani at Mira, near Venice.  The detached frescoes are now in the Musée Jacquemart-André, Paris, and include a ceiling decoration with Fame announcing the visit to the Villa of Henry III of France, and then his actual arrival there in 1574 (see figs. 1 and 2).  Tiepolo's patron was Vincenzo Pisani, who married Lucrezia Corner in 1745, but at the time of the French royal visit, some 170 years earlier, the villa had been owned by the Contarini family .  

The sheet must have been folded in the middle by the artist, who then drew on three of the resulting four sides.  Now opened out again, the recto bears two separate studies: a copy of the female figure believed to be modelled on Lucrezia Corner, with a few figures behind her, and, drawn in a different orientation, a detail of her bust (see fig. 2).  On the verso is a closed umbrella, which appears in the ceiling decoration to the left of the figure of Fame (see fig. 1).

Giandomenico was just eighteen when his father was painting the frescoes and could have been involved in some of the decoration of the Villa Pisani himself.  He had entered his father's workshop around 1740.  A great part of his training must have been making drawings after details of paintings by Giambattista - of which this is a handsome and instructive example - as well as copying his drawings.  As Bernard Aikema points out, in some cases these chalk drawings can be of such a high quality that their authorship is debated.  The most spectacular group of drawings of this type relates to the decoration of the Residenz in Würzburg.1 

1. See Bernard Aikema, Tiepolo and His Circle, exhibition catalogue, Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University et. al. , 1996, pp. 236-241.