View full screen - View 1 of Lot 264. The Holy Family with Three Angels.
264

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

The Holy Family with Three Angels

Estimate:

40,000

to
- 60,000 USD

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

The Holy Family with Three Angels

The Holy Family with Three Angels

Estimate:

40,000

to
- 60,000 USD

Lot sold:

44,100

USD

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

Venice 1696 - 1770 Madrid

The Holy Family with Three Angels


Pen and brown ink and gray wash over traces of black chalk;

bears inscription in brown ink, versoper spediete al S. Luigi (?)

230 by 193 mm; 9 by 7 5/8 in

Hinge mounted along the right edge to a decorative mount. There is an old vertical crease to the left edge and some show through in the lower left corner from the inscription to the verso. There are a few small light brown stains to the upper left and lower right corners. The drawing remains in otherwise very good condition throughout with the pen and wash vibrant and the image strong. Sold unframed.


In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.

Probably the Library of the Somasco Convent, S. Maria della Salute, Venice;
Count Leopoldo Cicognara;
Antonio Canova;
by inheritance to his half-brother, Monsignor Giovanni Battista Sartori-Canova;
Francesca Pesaro;
by whom sold to Col. Edward Cheney, Badger Hall, Shropshire;
by inheritance to his brother-in-law, Col. Alfred Capel-Cure, Blake Hall;
sale, London, Sotheby's, 29 April 1885 (presumably part of lot 1024);
with E. Parsons & Sons, London;
with P. & D. Colnaghi, London;
with Richard Owen, Paris;
Private Collection, France;
with Adolphe Stein, Paris, Master Drawings Presented by Adolphe Stein, London, 1977, no. 103;
sale, London, Christie's, 4 July 2000, lot 36;
with Paul Prouté, Paris, Catalogue G.B. Tiepolo, 2002, no. 10,
where acquired, 2002
Geneva, Musee d'Art et d'Histoire, Art Venetian en Suisse et au Lichtenstein, 1978, cat. no. 125

This drawing is one of a series of at least seventy-six variations on the theme of the Holy Family originating from the Savile Album (so-called because it first came to light in an exhibition at the Savile Gallery in May 1928), a series of drawings that encapsulate an important aspect of Giambattista Tiepolo's draughtsmanship. Tiepolo had given the album to the Somasco Convent in Venice in 1762, before he left for Spain. It was only after the Cheney sale in 1885 that it was dismembered, some forty drawings being bought by the Savile Gallery, and around fifteen by Alessandro Contini-Bonacossi.1 The same album also contained a remarkable series of head studies (see lot 246).


The drawings in the Holy Family series, dated by George Knox to the period 1754-62, appear to have been made as independent works of art. None of the individual variations are connected with any painted projects. Knox comments that these drawings 'float on the page like exquisite arabesques, and together represent the most magnificently sustained testimony to Giambattista's graphic inventiveness.'2  Some of the drawings depict just the three key figures of the Christ Child and his parents, while in others Giambattista incorporated, as here, additional elements, such as the young St. John the Baptist, various adoring angels, and devices like sketchy palm trees that hint at physical settings. As Bernard Aikema has, however, noted, the iconography of these drawings may have been of less interest to Tiepolo than the compositions themselves.3


1. J. Byam Shaw and G. Knox, The Robert Lehman Collection: Italian Eighteenth Century Drawings, vol. VI, Metropolitan Museum, New York 1987, p. 104, under cat. no. 78

2. G. Knox, Tiepolo: A Bicentenary Exhibition 1770-1970, exhib. cat., Cambridge, Mass., Fogg Art Museum, 1970, under cat. no. 89

3. B. Aikema, Tiepolo and his Circle, Drawings in American Collections, exhib. cat., Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Art Museums, and New York, Pierpont Morgan Library, 1996-97, p. 222, under cat. no. 84