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DEATH: 1770 TIEPOLO
BIRTH: 1875 MARQUET
Born on 27 March 1875: Albert
Marquet, French Fauvist
painter who died on 13 June 1947.
[Il y avait un peintre du nom de Marquet / qui était souvent recherché par le Parquet. / Mais alors pour outremer il s'embarquait, / et personne ne le remarquait]
Albert Marquet's father worked on the railroads and his mother encouraged and supported his early artistic endeavors. He joined Gustave Moreau's studio like the other Fauves at the École des Beaux-Arts. He painted the French urban landscapes extensively. He uses color to enhance or mute the effects of sunlight in his work. One such painting is Quai du Louvre et Le Pont-Neuf a Paris in which he used contrasting light and dark shapes to depict sunlight. Marquet preferred to live a secluded life with his wife, Marcelle Matinet whom he married in 1923. He loved to travel throughout Europe and Northern Africa. Marquet painted with Dufy along beaches in Normandy and Le Havre. Despite his penchant for painting landscapes, many would attest to Marquet's talent for portraiture which was often compared to that of Van Gogh's and Toulouse-Lautrec.
Naples Le Pont-Neuf 14 juillet Sergent du Corps Colonial Matisse et la Modèle Le Port de Hambourg (1909) Jour de Pluie à Paris (Nôtre-Dame) (1910)
Died on 27 March 1770: Giovanni-Battista
Tiepolo, Italian painter born on 05 March 1696. He
was the father of Giovanni
Domenico Tiepolo [30 August 1727
03 March 1804] and of Lorenzo Baldissera
Tiepolo [08 August 1736 – 1776]. His students included Charles
Flipart and Francesco
— Giambattista Tiepolo was the last of the great Venetian decorators, the purest exponent of the Italian Rococo, and arguably the greatest painter of the 18th century. He was trained under academic painter Gregorio Lazzarini [1655 – 10 Nov 1730] but was really formed by the study of Sebastiano Ricci and Piazzetta among living painter and Veronese among the older masters. He was received into the Fraglia (Guild) in 1717 but had already painted the Sacrifice of Abraham (1716), a dark picture very much in the manner of Piazzetta and the 17th century generally. In 1719 he married the sister of Guardi and at about this time his own lighter and loose style began to form.
Tiepolo's first great commission for fresco decorations came in 1725, when he began the work in the Archbishop's Palace at Udine (completed 1728). These already show the virtuosity of his handling, the light tone and pale colors necessitated by fresco obviously helping him to break free from the dark Piazettesque models he had previously followed. The Udine frescoes also show him developing as the creator of a world in steep perspective beyond the picture plane, with the architecture receding into dizzy distances. The highly specialized work of painting these architectural perspectives was done by Mengozzi-Colonna, who did this work for Tiepolo for most of his life.
After the Udine frescoes, Tiepolo traveled widely in Northern Italy, painting many more frescoes in palaces and churches, as well as altarpieces in oil which culminate in the gigantic Gathering of the Manna and Sacrifice of Melchidezek (1740), each of which is about 10 m high. The frescoes of this period culminate in the Antony and Cleopatra series in the Palazzo Labia, Venice, which were probably finished just before 1750, when he left Venice for Würzburg.
Tiepolo was invited to decorate the ceiling of the Kaisersaal in the Residenz at Würzburg by the Prince-Bishop, Karl Phillip von Greiffenklau, and Tiepolo and his sons Giandomenico and Lorenzo arrived in Würzburg at the end of 1750 and remained there until 1753, replacing Johann Zick, a German pupil of Piazzetta. He painted the staircase with frescoes, some overdoors, and some altarpieces as well as the Kaisersaal, helped in the gigantic task by both his sons as well as several assistants. The Palace itself is a superb example of German Rococo architecture and the combination of architecture and painting into one vast and airy allegory - apparently referring to the Prince-Bishop as a patron, but including Barbarossa and German history - is perhaps the most successful even in Tiepolo's career.
In 1755, after his return to Venice, he was elected first President of the Venetian Academy and in 1761 he was invited to Spain to decorate the Royal Palace in Madrid by Charles III. Tiepolo and his sons arrived in Madrid on 04 June 1762. In spite of his advanced age, he was extremely productive in the remaining eight years of his life, creating an impressive number of large frescos and altarpieces in Madrid. He appears to have been very well aware of the fact that the time for his art, in which he portrayed triumphal apotheoses and the glorification of the virtues of his clients by means of illusionistic settings, was well and truly over. Tiepolo was one of the few European painters still working on a monumental scale and able to realize extensive interior decorations. King Charles III of Spain had thus made the right choice in commissioning this artist to decorate the Throne Room of the Royal Palace in Madrid, only recently built to designs by Filippo Juvarra [1676-1736] by his pupil Sacchetti [died 1764].
Tiepolo had already completed the oil sketch for the ceiling fresco in the Throne Room, The Glory of Spain, in Venice (detail 1 _ detail 2 _ detail 3). The subject portrayed is the glorification of the Spanish nation, which in the course of the 16th and 17th centuries had developed into one of the leading European powers, politically, geographically and culturally. The compositional scheme of the ceiling fresco in the Throne Room is a brilliant synthesis of decorative elements from Tiepolo's earlier works, such as those in the Residence in Würzburg and the Villa Pisani in Stra. Tiepolo reproduces his previous work in a new setting without compromising the original character of the fresco or giving the impression of its being a copy. In spite of the complex structure of the numerous figural elements and the intricate meaning of its content, and thanks to the largely empty expanse of sky, the fresco appears to be one of the airiest Tiepolo ever created.
Work on the Throne Room was completed in 1764. The King was pleased with the result and asked Tiepolo to carry out further decorative work within the palace. The painting of a ceiling fresco in the Guard Room followed. In the Queen's antechamber, a small room adjoining the Throne Room, Tiepolo created the ceiling fresco The Apotheosis of the Spanish Monarchy (1766, 1500x900cm).
In 1767 Charles commissioned seven altarpieces for Aranjuez, but Tiepolo's last years in Spain were embittered by intrigues on behalf of Mengs, the representative of that Neoclassicism which was soon to condemn his kind of splendid and carefree painting as frivolous. He died suddenly in Madrid.
Tiepolo's enormous output of frescoes and altarpieces was partly due to his practice (like Rubens before him) of painting small 'modelli' which, when approved by the client, could be carried out by his skilled assistants under his own supervision. Scores of these modelli and sketches survive, together with hundreds of drawings. He painted very few portraits. He also etched many plates, and, with Marco Ricci, was one of the founders of the great school of 18-century Venetian etchers.
Venetian Promenade (1760)
— The Martyrdom of St. Bartholomew (1722, 167x139cm) _ Tiepolo was the most exuberant and influential, and arguably the greatest, painter in eighteenth-century Europe before the rise of Neo-Classicism. He revived the full glories of the Venetian Renaissance enriched with references to Rubens, Rembrandt, and the Roman Baroque. Tiepolo helped create the style of large-scale decorative programs embarked on by courts across the continent. His fame rests chiefly on his huge frescos but he should also be remembered as an extremely versatile painter, able to move freely from one art form to another and to adapt to the most disparate subjects. He was a pupil of Gregorio Lazzarini but soon surpassed him, being just 21 when he became a member of the Venetian Painters' Guild. In 1719 he married Cecilia Guardi, sister of the two painters Francesco and Gianantonio. He was attracted by the experimental work being done by Piazzetta and Sebastiano Ricci (working alongside them on the paintings in S. Stae in 1722).
The subject of the painting is the martyrdom of St Bartholomew, whose tormentors are on the point of flaying him alive. The awfulness of the scene is matched by the extremely powerful composition which places the writhing body of the saint along the diagonal between the two henchmen. The eerie contrast between light and shade makes the scene all the more vivid. The expressive gesture with which the despairing saint stretches his arm heavenward transforms the picture into a wonderful depiction of divine grace, the existence of which is already signaled by the bright light emanating from above.
— The Rape of Europa (1725, 99x134cm) _ Giambattista Tiepolo very early withdrew from the lessons he was receiving from Gregorio Lazzarini, an academic of mediocre talents, and developed rather towards the vigorous chiaroscuro of Federico Bencovich and Piazzetta, renderíng their solutions still more refined and precious by using colors which have an absolutely unmistakable, densely fused luminous vibration to them. At the end of this fundamental experience come the canvas of The Rape of Europa in which the mythological subject is depicted in an airy, disenchanted transcription which at times becomes almost caricature. The severity of the pattern of chiaroscuro loses intensity in favour of refinement of chromatic notes in an interpretation of space open and articulated in depth which is as far from Bencovich and Piazzetta as it is consonant with the taste of Sebastiano Ricci. And the very lively spacial and luministic framework in which the figures take their places with such easy confidence offers a foretaste of the supreme gifts of Tiepolo as an 'organizer' of paintings.
— Education of the Virgin (1732) _ The figures in this altarpiece are portrayed more as the heroines of noble dramas than as saints. They combine true pathos with elegant sensuality, as if they were creatures of some higher human species. At the same time, however, they are firmly linked to our sense of everyday life through the descriptive details which are so naturalistic as to border on trompe-l'oeil.
In the center of the representation, in front of a magnificent architectural backdrop, stands Mary as a young girl, reading from an open book, and instructed by her mother, who sits next to her. Her father, standing to her right, is deep in prayer and has his eyes raised towards Heaven. What is striking about the composition, is the diagonal line which runs from the three angels' heads beneath the book to the three large angels above Mary, and which symbolizes the way to the Kingdom of Heaven.
— John the Baptist Preaching (1733, 350x300cm) _ The impressive figure of John the Baptist, delivering his sermon with raised forefinger from the top of a rock in the landscape, dominates the right-hand side of the picture. His cross staff and the lamb at his feet refer to the fate of Christ. The left-hand side of the picture is almost completely taken up by men, women and children, who listen spellbound to the sermon. The young woman placed in the very centre of the picture breast-feeding her child, who thus conforms to the standardized portrayal of the Madonna and Child, can be understood as an allusion to the birth of Christ, which is the subject of John's sermon.
— The Beheading of John the Baptist (1733, 350x300cm) _ Tiepolo presents us with a particularly graphic depiction of the beheading of John the Baptist, which takes place in a stone dungeon. The torso of the beheaded man lies on a raised stone podium, the blood dripping down the few steps which lead to it, while the executioner, who stands over him, holds up the severed head. To the left, a female servant approaches with a salver. Behind her, a young woman turns from the scene in horror. On the right-hand side, Salome, who has ordered the murder, stands in elegant robes, surrounded by Herod and members of the royal court.
— The Scourge of the Serpents (detail) (1735, 164x1356cm complete frieze) _ During the 1720s Giambattista Tiepolo developed a new coloristic style of painting derived in principle from the dazzling palette of Veronese and the no less brilliant one of Sebastiano Ricci. Rejecting the tenebrous color of Piazzetta, we witness in Tiepolo the triumph of color with a richness of resonance and counterpoint elaborated within the ordered and monumental composition. This great frieze is a fine example of Tiepolo's work of the 1730s. The painting in its ornate stucco frame decorated with fruit, flowers and leaves is over 13 meters long. Three episodes are depicted with a decorative illusionism contrasting with the declared realist-narrative intent, making the painting's effect somewhat melodramatic.
— The Triumph of Zephyr and Flora (1735, 395x225cm) _ As an allegory of Spring, this picture brings together the god of the spring winds, Zephyr, and the goddess of all that blooms, Flora. Accompanied by several putti, they hover on a cloud in the sky, while on the lower edge of the picture, the god of love, Amor, seems to be showing them the way. The brilliant coloring of the robes, the successful modelling of the bodies and the dynamic depiction of the multicolored cloud formations, full of contrasts, make the picture one of Tiepolo's masterpieces.
— Pope St Clement Adoring the Trinity (1738, 488x256cm) _ The painting shows Pope Clement I at prayer, in an ecclesiastical architectural setting which cannot be identified more closely, before a vision of the Holy Trinity. The lively facial expressions suggest a conversation between Clement and God the Father, which is further dramatized by the strong chiaroscuro contrasts. In an allusion to the particular connection between the donor and his famous patron saint, Tiepolo lends the portrait of the Pope a private character: the tiara and crosier, symbols of his power, have been laid aside and placed in the keeping of a putto.
— The Institution of the Rosary (1739, 1200x450cm) _ The fresco is the largest version of this subject in European art, and it combines two different iconographic traditions: in the upper part of the picture, the Rosenkranzbild, in which Mary gives the Rosary to mankind, and, in the lower part, a depiction of the beneficence of the Rosary on earth, represented by St Dominic. As well as the Madonna of the Rosary, the fresco also extols St Dominic, the founder of the Dominican order, to whom the dog is a reference (lat. domini canes, God's hounds). All manner of people are portrayed - represented among others by the Doge, a Turk, a nun, and a mother and child, a symbol of Christian charity - so that the viewer, whether rich or poor, could identify with them.
— Christ Carrying the Cross (1738, 450x517cm) _ The subject of the painting is Christ's carrying of the cross to the hill of Golgotha, which rises up in the centre of the picture as a tall rock, the crosses already erected upon it. Directly beneath it in the foreground we see Christ in a flame red robe. He has collapsed under the heavy weight of the cross. To the right, Veronica, holding the sudarium, turns away from the dramatic scene, visibly moved. To the left, the two thieves likewise condemned to crucifixion are being led forward. In the exact centre of the picture, between Christ's cross and the hill of Golgotha, and directly facing the viewer, are the figures of Jesus' disciples, together with Mary and Mary Magdalene. Brightly illuminated, they stand out symbolically from the other figures.
— The Virgin with Six Saints (1740, 73x56cm) _ In Venetian Cinquecento paintings of the Madonna, the Virgin and Child are usually represented in a terrestrial environment, with a landscape background, in the company of saints. This type of "santa conversazione" was subsequently altered to suit the taste of the baroque era: in most instances the Virgin Mary, floating among clouds, appears to the saints situated in earthly regions. As in the Budapest canvas and in a number of other pictures by Tiepolo, the painter conveys a vision, an apparition, seeking to establish a connection between celestial and earthly elements. Most likely the Budapest picture was painted for some pious brotherhood. Its airily receding architecture, the marvellous purity of its resplendent colors, the harmony of construction are similar to Tiepolo's works of the years 1737 to 1740, The Virgin with Six Saints was probably produced simultaneously with pictures in the church of Gesuati, and the lost St Augustine altarpiece of San Salvatore.
— The Virgin Appearing to St Philip Neri (1740, 360x182cm) _ The saint stands in profile at the steps of an altar in front of a highly-developed architectural background. His gaze diverted upward in astonishment, he experiences the manifestation of the Mother of God and her Child, who appear to float in the interior of the church on a cloud, accompanied by angels. The rendering of the material of the robes is particularly impressive, as is the mist-like quality of the cloud, which almost turns the vision into an actual happening.
— The Gathering of Manna (1742, 1000x525cm) _ The altarpiece shows Moses standing on a rocky outcrop, with outspread arms, his gaze raised towards Heaven, which has already heard his prayers. An angel pours bread from a large vase down to earth, where the hungry Israelites scurry around on the ground to collect it. The strict division of the composition into two different areas - the spheres of heaven and earth - is broken by the figure of Moses, who is placed dead centre, and so is characterized as a mediator between the two spheres.
— The Sacrifice of Melchizedek (1742, 1000x525cm) _ The Sacrifice of Melchizedek is shown here as a pendant to the Gathering of Manna. The Priest-King of Salem brings Abraham bread and wine on the evening following the Battle of the Kings, and blesses him. Abraham, who kneels before him in armor, and the army to the right are a reminder of the battle which went before. To the left, we see the civilian population, including women, children and the elderly, while a triumphal procession is already approaching from behind the altar.
— The Banquet of Cleopatra (1744, 249x346cm) _ Magnificent, brightly lit palace architecture is the setting for Cleopatra's banquet. However, the historical event of the meeting between the Queen of Egypt and the Roman Anthony takes second place to the creation of an opulent banqueting scene in the manner of Veronese. It is therefore the sumptuous costumes, the magnificent receptacles and the rich variety of foods which draw most attention as they are proffered by the servants of the court, who include moors, a dwarf and a dog - a collection of elements typical of the work of Veronese.
— Worshippers (1745, 410x198cm) _ Giambattista Tiepolo collaborated with the Venetian quadratura painter Girolamo Mengozzi Colonna on the ceiling fresco of the nave of the church of St. Mary of Nazareth called the 'Scalzi', completing the work in 1743-45 following the careful preparation of studies and models. The grandiose fresco depicting the 'transportation of the holy house of Loreto' was almost completely destroyed during World War I. The few remaining fragments, such as this 'Worshippers', are enough to evoke the richness of color and conception of this major decorative achievement. The silver-white tones of the visionary shrine are illuminated by the dazzling hues of the garments of the nobleman who looks up towards the saintly apparition while his servant glances curiously downward towards the crowded nave.
— Apollo and Daphne (1745, 96x79cm) _ The dramatic episode of Apollo and Daphne, as narrated by Ovid in the "Metamorphoses", is staged in front of an almost Alpine backdrop. Daphne escapes the attentions of Apollo, who has fallen madly in love with her, by turning herself into a tree. The moment in which the transformation begins is represented: Apollo is hard on her heels and Amor, too, is attempting to hold her, but her hands have already turned into foliage. The backward-facing figure of a river god in the foreground marks the end of her desperate flight. The strong contrast between the brilliant yellow and red robes and the dark blue shades of the background brings to mind works of French art.
— Discovery of the True Cross (1745, diameter 490 cm) _ According to legend, St Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great, discovered the True Cross on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Tiepolo portrays the saint, in daring foreshortening from below, making a triumphal gesture in front of the Cross, which towers up into the sky. She is surrounded by the usual retinue of soldiers, holy men, the old and the young, women and children, commonly used by Tiepolo as extras in his paintings. A number of angels hover over the scene, carrying a thurible and a tablet bearing the name of Christ, looking down on the miracle of the discovery of the cross.
This grandiose tondo, originally the centrepiece of the ceiling decorated by Girolamo Mengozzi Colonna in the Capuchin church in Castello, is a typical example of Tiepolo's ability to translate any theme, sacred or profane into a stupendous Baroque magniloquence. Within the monumental order the areas of color are arranged in patterns of polychromatic splendour, suffused with a pure light which highlights every carefully observed detail. In this remarkable example of illusionistic perspective, with which Tiepolo never tired of amazing his contemporaries, the images are characterized by distinct notes of colors and emotion with a fascinating musical decorative freshness.
— The Virgin Appearing to Dominican Saints (1748, 340x168cm) _ The Virgin Mary hovers on a throne-like golden yellow cloud beneath a baldachin in front of Renaissance architecture, dressed in brilliant reds and blues and accompanied by angels. In the foreground are the three saints, all members of the Dominican order. Agnes of Montepulciano (1274-1317) sits at the front and meditates over a small crucifix. Her robes illusionistically jut out into the viewer's space. To her left stands St Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) with a crown of thorns and a crucifix, and St Rose of Lima (1586-1617), holding the Christ Child in her arms. The figures in this altarpiece are portrayed more as the heroines of noble dramas than as saints. They combine true pathos with elegant sensuality, as if they were creatures of some higher human species. At the same time, however, they are firmly linked to our sense of everyday life through the descriptive details which are so naturalistic as to border on trompe-l'oeil.
— Last Communion of St Lucy (1748, 222x101cm) _ Still further proof of Tiepolo's extraordinarily eclectic talents comes from the fact that at the same period that he was working on the breathtakingly secular spectacle of the frescos in Palazzo Labia, he also painted his most religiously intense Venetian altarpiece. In no sense did he compromise the clear sobriety of the architecture nor the brilliance of his palette. Indeed they seem to underline the sadness of the scene.
With arms crossed, St Lucy kneels before a priest to receive the last communion. Her half closed eyes and the elegiac expression on her face hint at her later fate. The priests and secular dignitaries who surround her wear magnificent robes, whose beautifully rendered material and brilliant colors are of particular intensity. The scene takes place in front of an imposing palace, upon whose balustrade Tiepolo has again placed spectators. While the bloody knife and the platter with the gouged-out eyes in the foreground are a drastic reminder of the impending martyrdom, the heads of angels which hover over the saint announce her entry into the Kingdom of Heaven.
— Adoration by the Magi (1753, 408x210cm) _ Tiepolo painted this altarpiece during his stay in Germany. Because if the damp climate, he could only work on the frescoes in the Würzburg Residenz in the spring and summer. So in the fall and winter he had to concentrate on painting in oil on canvas. He produced some fantastic and exotically beautiful works in which the religious subject seems merely a pretext for eye-catching, showy images, but he himself was genuinely religious. The style of the age, however, meant that even religious topics often became theatrical.
— Allegory of the Planets and Continents (1752, 185x139cm) _ Tiepolo was the most famous Italian painter of the 18th century. His greatest achievement was the decoration of two rooms in the palace, or Residenz, of Carl Philipp von Greiffenklau, prince-bishop of Würzburg, carried out between 1751 and 1753. This painting is the oil sketch presented by Tiepolo on April 20, 1752, for the vast fresco over the staircase of the palace. It shows Apollo about to embark on his daily course across the sky; the deities around him symbolize the planets, and the allegorical figures on the cornice represent the four continents of the world. Numerous changes were made between the oil sketch and the fresco, but this painting shares with the completed ceiling the feeling for airy space, sun-washed colors, and the prodigious inventiveness for which Tiepolo is admired.
— The Death of Hyacinth (1753, 287x235cm) _ In the foreground, accompanied by a putto, and with a sweeping gesture, Apollo laments Hyacinth, who he accidentally killed during a ball game, and whose body is impressively laid out on a red cloth. Behind them to the left, and somewhat distanced, is a group of onlookers included as staffage, while a grinning statue of Pan and a parrot, on the right, act as a third centre in the composition, their presence turning the tragedy of the scene to irony.
— An Allegory with Venus and Time (1758, 292x190cm) _ To enter fully the radiant world of Tiepolo we must travel - to Venice, his native city, then back to the mainland to Udine and Vicenza, across the Alps to Würzburg in Bavaria, finally to Madrid in Spain where, fearing the shift of taste in his homeland, he elected to spend the last years of his life. The greatest decorative painter of his century, he was happiest working in fresco where his 'rapid and resolute' manner was a technical necessity. Under his virtuoso brush airy spaces, shimmering with light, opened on walls and ceilings to admit heroic beings - Christian, mythological, allegorical, historic or poetic - dazzling to mortal viewers. He has been called the last Renaissance painter, and borrowed much from Veronese. But Tiepolo, even more than Veronese, was never wholly serious when painting epic. He can be majestic but not solemn; poignant rather than tragic. In the century which discovered feminine sensibility, he introduced a note of tenderness into the sternest and loftiest imagery.
Luckily for us, something of the freshness of Tiepolo's mural decorations is preserved in his oil sketches and in this canvas, painted to be inserted into the ceiling of a room in one of the many Venetian palaces of the Contarini family. It is designed to be seen from below, but at an angle, as we step through the door. From infinitely luminous skies, Venus, sumptuous in her white, gold and pink nudity, has swooped down in her chariot; her team of doves, released from harness flutter lovingly above her, and from a dawn-tinted cloud the Three Graces strew roses. Below, winged Cupid, her divine son, hovers with his quiverful of arrows. Venus has come to consign her newly born child, freshly washed with water from an earthenware amphora, to Father Time. Having set down his scythe, Time here signifies eternity rather than mortality. The child - wide-eyed, thick-lipped and with a precocious widow's peak in his hairline - resembles page boys frescoed by Tiepolo shortly before on the staircase of the prince-bishop's palace in Würzburg. He is clearly meant to be a real baby. Venus' only human child, born to a mortal father, was Aeneas the founder of Rome. The Contarini, one of the oldest families in Venice, had fabricated for themselves a lineage from ancient Rome; the reference to Aeneas thus suggests that the ceiling may have been commissioned to proclaim the birth of a son. Through august parentage and his own heroic deeds, a Contarini boy might be expected, like Aeneas, to win eternal fame.
— A Seated Man and a Girl with a Pitcher (1755, 160x54cm) _ The painting belongs to a series of four paintings of identical size.
— The Theological Virtues (1755, octogonal, 39x38cm) _ This is a modello for a fresco above the choir of the Santa Maria della Pietà in Venice. The final fresco closely follows the modello with only minor changes.
— The Martyrdom of Saint Agatha (1756, 184x131cm) _ This canvas was painted for the high altar of the church of Saint Agatha in Lendinara. It must originally have been rounded at the top, for it appears in this form in an etching by Tiepolo's son, Giovanni Domenico. The part which is now missing showed a heart surrounded by the crown of thorns in a nimbus, at which the saint was gazing. The beautiful Agatha was a devout Christian who lived in Catania. She steadfastly refused to make sacrifice to the heathen gods. When she defied the threats of the Roman Governor of Sicily, Quintianus, he ordered her breasts to be cut off. We see her, half-naked, on a flight of steps; a maid kneels behind her, supporting her and holding her dress against the bleeding wounds. A page stands in front of a marble pillar, holding the severed breasts of the martyr on a silver platter and gazing down at her. The uncouth figure of the executioner, clad in red and holding a blood-stained sword, towers menacingly over the group.
Tiepolo is among the last of the great Venetian painters, a master of large-scale composition, who was commissioned by princes outside (Würzburg, Madrid) as well as inside Italy. Nor did he shrink from this particularly horrifying subject; once before, twenty years earlier, he had been required to treat the same subject for the church of S. Antonio in Padua. With astonishing self-assurance the painter succeeds in portraying this fearful episode in artistic terms without allowing it to degenerate into mere bloodshed and horror. At the same time, so strong is his desire for realism - and he had doubtless witnessed executions himself - that he exploits to the utmost the artistic possibilities open to him.
In color and form the composition is extremely accomplished, almost too much so to do justice to the theme. Between the soaring pillar and the towering figure of the executioner, one glimpses the dark entrance of the dungeon and beneath it the pale face of the martyr, flanked on both sides - almost oppressively close - by the faces of the two witnesses. The compassion expressed in the attitude of the young woman on the right contrasts with the searching glance of the page on the left, in which merely the physical effect of the scene before him is reflected. The wide, pale-blue cloak of the saint serves to bind the group of three figures together and blends with the silver-white, the bright yellow and the orange to produce a color-harmony that is characteristic of Tiepolo. Two of the artist's crayon studies for the saint's face are in the Kupferstichkabinett (Copper Engravings section) in the Berlin Museum.
— Allegory of Merit Accompanied by Nobility and Virtue (1758) _ The oval-shaped ceiling fresco shows the allegory of Merit on the left-hand side, personified by an elderly, bearded man wearing a laurel wreath. Accompanied by Nobility and the winged figure of Virtue, dressed in white, he rises up on a cloud populated by putti towards the temple of Glory. On the upper edge of the picture, Fame announces the glory of Merit by sounding her trumpets. The mostly empty skies in the centre of the fresco contain only clouds and several putti.
— Madonna of the Goldfinch (1760) _ Eighteenth century Venetian painters tended to use high keyed, muted colors, possibly reflecting the current vogue for pastels. The goldfinch was a medieval symbol of protection against the plague.
— Woman with a Parrot (1761) _ Although Tiepolo did from time to time produce excellent portraits, this luminous painting may not be a portrait at all. It is, however, almost a symbol of eighteenth-century grace. The rosy bust of the extremely pretty young girl can without disadvantage be compared to the sensual female half busts that Titian had painted two centuries earlier.
— The Apotheosis of the Pisani Family (1762, 2350x1350cm) _ The ceiling fresco is conceived as a trompe-l'oeil opening onto a silvery-blue sky, whose endless depths are defined by various towering cloud formations. The composition consists of two sections which exist independently of one another: the portrayal of the Pisani family and various allegorical figures in the lower portion, and the Continents in the upper portion. The figure of Fame, sounding her trumpets in either direction, connects the two. Below her, Divine Wisdom is enthroned and reigns over a harmonious empire. The Virtues Faith, Justice, Love, Hope and Strength appear at her feet. _ (detail 1) This section shows the known continents of Asia, America, and Africa on a cloud, while Europe is portrayed above them, on a bull, to express the greater degree of civilization she was thought to possess. A battle scene appears along the lower edge of the picture and obviously refers to the subjugation of the Turks, symbolized by the two figures in long coats, who have thrown themselves down in front of the invaders. _ (detail 2) The various members of the Pisani family are surrounded by several allegorical figures. Truth appears as a naked woman, the crowned woman atop the globe and seen from behind personifies Italy, while the various arts are represented at her feet: Astronomy with telescope and globe, Music with horn and score, Sculpture with block of marble and bust, as well as Painting with brush. The allegories of Peace with palm leaves, and of Plenty with amphora and floral crown complete the scene on the left-hand side.
— The Immaculate Conception (1769, 279x152cm) _ In an awe-inspiring, powerful manifestation, the Virgin Mary hovers in the skies, atop a globe, and in front of a yellow background. Above her the dove appears, symbolizing the Holy Spirit. The palm tree in the foreground is a symbol of Mary's victory and superiority over evil in the world, the snake under her feet stands for original sin. The mirror, on the other hand, illustrates the belief that she is completely without blemish and that she herself is the mirror of all virtues. The crescent moon refers to the Woman of the Apocalypse in St John's Gospel and is also a symbol of chastity.
— The Angel Succouring Hagar (1732, 140x120cm) 43 etchings at FAMSF