Tiepolo, Giovanni Battista

Tiepolo, Giovanni Battista jōvänˈnē bät-tēˈstä tyĕˈpōlō [key], 1696–1770, Italian painter, b. Venice. A master of the rococo style, he was the most important Venetian painter and decorator of the 18th cent. His frescoes in the Labia Palace and the doge's palace won him international fame. In 1750, Tiepolo was summoned to Würzburg, where he decorated the palace of the archbishop with frescoes illustrating the life of Emperor Frederick I and with altarpieces depicting the Ascension of the Virgin and Fall of the Angels. In 1762 he went to Madrid, where he passed the remainder of his life and decorated the royal palace with frescoes representing Spain and Her Provinces and the Apotheosis of Spain. He also created many paintings in oil. Lightness and clarity of color, superb draftsmanship, and scintillating brushwork mark his style. His mastery and audacity are amazing, particularly in his fresco decorations, in which he sent foreshortened deities floating on clouds through sunny skies. His art is derived from Veronese, but it is less concerned with solid structure and shows more surface brilliance. Tiepolo is also famous as a draftsman and etcher. Goya learned much from him technically. Two of Tiepolo's sons, Giandomenico and Lorenzo, continued his tradition. Tiepolo's works are in many European and American public collections. Among the latter are The Crucifixion (City Art Mus., St. Louis); The Apotheosis of Aeneas (Mus. of Fine Arts, Boston); and two allegorical pictures (Metropolitan Mus.). The National Gallery, Washington, D.C., also has several of his pictures.

See catalog of works (ed. by G. Knox, 1960); studies by A. Morassi (1955), P. Ancona (1956), V. Crivellaro (1962), A. Rizzi (1972), B. L. Brown et al. (1993), and R. Colasso (2009).

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