Like both the Holy Family and Head Study series, very rarely has a link been established between the standing draped figures and any paintings. They seem to have been intended as drawings in their own right, and date from about 1750 onwards.
It now seems probable that among the volumes of Tiepolo drawings in Edward Cheney’s Collection there were four that contained studies of single figures, plus two of standing figures and two of figures for ceilings. While one of the volumes of the single figures remained intact, finding a home in the Victoria and Albert Museum, the other three were sold at Christie’s in 1914, and subsequently dispersed by Parsons and Sons.2 Many sheets from these albums are today to be found in leading museums worldwide, and others are in private collections.
Another very similar figure of an oriental man with hands outstretched, though facing in the opposite direction to this figure, was sold in these Rooms on 25 January 2012 (lot 113).
The sole figure vestite demonstrate yet another facet to Giovanni Battista’s talent and show the artist experimenting with various stances and nuances within a seemingly restrictive theme, yet one that does not seem to impede the artist’s imagination; Tiepolo still manages to give each figure its own individual character and personality.
1. Tiepolo A Bicentenary Exhibition 1770-1970 Drawings, mainly from American collections by Giambattista Tiepolo and the members of his circle, exhib. cat., Harvard University, Fogg Art Museum, 1970, under no. 71
2. J. Byam Shaw & G. Knox, The Robert Lehman Collection VI, Italian Eighteenth Century Drawings, New York 1987, p. 111, under no. 83
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