The Death of Hyacinthus∞ Giovanni Tiepolo 1753 Oil on Canvas Current location Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum Spain
The Institution of the Rosary∞ Giovanni Tiepolo 1737 Santa Maria del Rosario (Gesuati) Venice
“full of soaring and twisting space, transparency and delicious shot-silk color — a place dedicated to the imagination and filled with idealized personages from history, myth and fable.” – Robert Hughes, discussing Tiepolo’s work
Tiepolo was the sparkling star of eighteenth-century decorative painting in Italy. He was a virtuoso master of the fresco medium, sought after not only in Italy but also in Germany and Spain. Tiepolo brought imagination and Baroque grandeur to the frivolous Rococo spirit and infused it with sound pictorial composure, gleaned from his knowledge of Rubens, Rembrandt and Durer. The influence of the Venetian masters Veronese and Tintoretto is also prevalent in the eloquence and drama with which Tiepolo imbues his large scale compositions. As a colorist, Tiepolo is unsurpassed, progressing from the rather dark tonality of his early works to his characteristically sunny palette from the early 1730s.
At the peak of his career, in 1750, Tiepolo was commissioned to decorate the Wurzburg Palace, the Prince Archbishop’s residence. America is one of Tiepolo’s allegorical interpretations of the four continents, decorating the grand staircase of the palace. This exotic scheme is a tour de force, full of vigour and creative originality and is considered the masterpiece of Tiepolo’s maturity. In the last years of his life the rising popularity of Neoclassicism caused the decline of Tiepolo’s career but did not affect its tasting impact.