Giovanni Battista Tiepolo an Italian printmaker and painter who based his paintings in "Rococo" style. On March 5, 1696, a young boy by the name Giovanni Battista Tiepolo was born in Venice. He was the youngest child among six children of Domenico and Orsetta Tiepolo. His family was not badly off considering his father was a shipping merchant. Moreover, Giovanni was named after his grandfather a Venetian nobleman called Giovanni Battista Doria.
On 16 April 1696 in a local church San Pietro di Castello, Giovanni was baptized. When Giovanni was barely a year old, his father died to leave him and his five siblings. In 1710, Giovanni's mother entrusted his son to Gregorio Lazzarini, a renowned painter of decorative academic taste who cared for him teaching him the paintings basic techniques, which would later thrust him to fame. Giovanni went through a complicated and varied artistic education. The large production of etchings in the 16th century demonstrates his skills considering he studied older painters, examined both foreign contemporaries and Venetian works.
He mastered a wide variety of forms and moods throughout his artistic activities, among the forms he mastered are depicted by the Crucifixion (1723-24) located at Sta. Barbara Burano. As much as Gregorio Lazzarini had some influence on him, the works by Sebastiano Ricci and Giovanni Battista Piazzetta also had as much influence on him. Moreover, the robust plastic modelling of his Venetian contemporary Giovanni Battista Piazzetta made a great influence on him and his work.
Giovanni was full of fire and passion for painting considering that at the age of 20, he exhibited his work at a church of S. Rocco winning plaudits. After his solo performance, the following year he became a member of a painter's guild. In the year 1719, Giovanni married noblewoman Maria Cecilia Guardia, the sister to a Venetian scene painter Francesco. They together started a family giving birth to nine children among them there were two painters Giovanni Domenico and Lorenzo Baldassare.
During the 1720s on the northern Italian mainland, Giovanni carried out many large-scale commissions. The Old Testament scenes were done for the patriarch of Aquileia and Daniele Dolfin, in the new Archbishop's Palace at Udine were among the most important works he got large commissions while on the Italian mainland. While on this Italian mainland, he decided to turn to the bright, sparkling colours, which would later thrust him to fame abandoning the dark hues that had taken the better part of his early artistic life. Giovanni did not only work in Italy considering his work duties sent away to Spain and Germany growing his fame with time.
The monumental Madonna of Carmelo and the Souls of Purgatory made a great impact on Giovanni's work. The painting was made during the 1730s as Giovanni's influence and prowess were growing tremendously. The Madonna of Carmel and the Souls of the Purgatory painting is among the early works of Giovanni. This painting depicts violence and agitation in its composition, how the figures are constructed, the Baroque light effects and impastos. This painting depicts the influence of Balestra and Piazzetta on Giovanni's work. The painting's broadness of the space and the juxtaposition of episodes indicate the examples of Veronese. From the Madonna of Carmelo and the Souls of Purgatory, painting is easy to recognize one of Giovanni's spiritual approach, which is sceptical, disenchanted detachment from the subject (Popham 103).
The typical enlightenment as depicted from the painting helped him mature greatly in his paintings transforming to a more modern sardonic ideal of Veronese. Sant'Apollinare, Venice was the original place of the painting. However, the picture was taken to France where it was cut in two halves after the suppression of the church. Later on, the Chiesa family bought the two halves of the painting for the Brera. Moreover, in 1950, the painting was restored to its original form. Tiepolo used the style of Piazzetta and at the same time confronted great Venetian models of the Cinquecento like that of a di San Zaccaria to make this painting.
In keeping up with the Venetian tradition, Giovanni grounded the works of this painting in colour as much as a line. Moreover, in the early composition of the painting, he used oil sketch, which placed equal emphasis on colour relationships. The oil sketches helped transform the functional object into a fine piece of art. This type of painting is the traditional Venetian type of painting. Some of the materials used by Giovanni to produce this fine piece of art include oil, canvas, colour and paint brush.
The materials give birth to a fine piece that elevated the status of Giovanni into the art world. This painting is so symbolic to the Catholic faith. The Madonna of Carmel and the Souls of the Purgatory painting symbolizes Mary saving souls stuck in purgatory. By her side, there is Jesus who is accompanied by the heavenly host, the holy trinity. Together they are letting out the souls out of purgatory into Heaven's glory. Moreover, it is believed that the same fire used to burn them infuses them with God's love. The painting is so sacred and bears a great meaning to the theologians.
In the year 1729, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo created the painting Sacrifice of Isaac. The painting is drawn on the central ceiling depicting the Sacrifice of Isaac. The picture shows an angel accompanied by divine light staying Abraham's hand as he is about to slay his son Isaac. On the lower edge of the picture, a ram to be sacrificed instead of Isaac is seen. From the picture, Giovanni portrays a biblical story where God put Abraham to test to weigh his faith in him. Abraham being obedient to God follows the commands given. I believe Giovanni wanted to bring the picture to live to the people considering during this time most of his work was majorly about Christian faith. Giovanni wanted the Christian believers to have a picture of the incident when Abraham's faith was put to the test.
Throughout his life, Giovanni's paintings were mainly religious considering he made paintings meant for the altar, however, from 1730; he began painting secular themes meant to glorify Venice and its noble families. His deep root greatly influenced these secular paintings in Venetian history. The dreams of those who deeply loved Venice lived in the past. Moreover, they looked up to Tiepolo to tell the story of Venice through his magnificent paintings which they loved dearly. The paintings reminded them of a city that was once glorious. Therefore, before gaining international recognition, Giovanni's fan base was first Venice his childhood town and home.
Among the most important paintings by Giovanni during 1740s after changing to the secular theme, include the Palazzo Labia. Giovanni painted the Palazzo Labia a baroque palace in Venice, Italy in 1747. Giovanni painted the palace by using decorative works in trompe l'oeil by Gerolamo Mengozzi-Colonna design. The Labia family put Giovanni to task after gaining Venetian patriciate. The family wanted to create a lasting impression hence requesting Giovanni to paint the palace in an extraordinary frescoes design (Chiarloni 3-12). The building represents Giovanni's best secular in Venice.
Frescoes cover the palace's great hall that rises to about two storeys. The simulated illusionistic architecture opens up the walls of the room. Moreover, a massive architectural framework of multi-coloured painted marble supports the layered system of fictive exterior and interior spaces created. Within this great illusory architecture, Giovanni stages the Meeting of Anthony, Cleopatra, and The Banquet of Cleopatra. This scenic framework lands a theatrical scene. There are many narratives behind Giovanni's representation of irony in his works. This painting left people the people of Venice in awe; most people are frozen by the marvelous scene once in the building hall. The perfection of this beautiful scenery motivated Giovanni to peruse the secular theme and broaden his horizons.
Giovanni had lived all his life in Italy and doing his extraordinary work, however, in 1750, he made his first trip out of Italy (Middeldorf 54). His invitation out of Italy to Wurzburg Germany came from Prince Bishop Karl Philipp von Greiffenklau. The prince required his painting services to paint a lucrative, prestigious commission. Giovanni painted the most lucrative and imaginative masterpiece of his career painting the ceiling of the Grand Staircase (Trepenhaus) and the state dining room (Kaiseraal).
At the focal point of the Trepenhaus ceiling, Giovanni painted Apollo Bringing the Bride clearly showing his mastery of draughtsmanship, moreover, he used shimmering colour palette laminating the room. Giovanni collaborated with Gerolamo Mengozzi Colonna attaining new levels of quadratura - the trompe l'oeil illusionistic painting technique. This painting elevated his status in the painting world making a name for himself and starring in another technique. This piece of art was significant considering that it concluded the Italian fresco tradition of painting, which had lasted for over four hundred years following the initiation by Giotto (1270-1337) an Italian painter.
In 1762, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo was renowned throughout the world especially after his magnificent work in Germany. This year saw him get an invitation to Madrid, Spain by King Charles III to paint the newly made Royal palace. He spent two years filling the vast palace with his magnificent works among them including the Christian virtues protected and encouraged in Spain, the jubilant angels who bore the Spanish crown, and the vices and heresies Spain cast down to hell. The legacy of Columbus is painted alongside the palace and overhead is a Spanish galleon floating with a cargo of riches from the new world. The Apotheosis of Spain was the panegyric theme of the palace.
Despite his age, Giovanni managed to put large pieces of frescos together with his sons. Despite being aware that the time for impressing his clients with the illusionistic settings was over, he still proceeded with his highly esteemed technique. Moreover, he used his oil sketch to pain the royal chamber. The fresco appeared to be the airiest Giovanni ever created impressing the king landing him further painting task around the palace. From the painting by Giovanni in Spain, the loading of the treasures of American continent depicts the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus and how the Spanish conquered the new land during the 16th century. Moreover, the European victory over the natives is depicted by the red Indians surrender to the Europeans.
In 1766 after the completion of his work in Spain, Giovanni decided to stay in Spain. The atmosphere in the art world was fast evolving considering art was changing to neoclassicism after the discovery of Herculaneum and Pompeii. In the advocacy for this design, a German painter Anton Raphael Mengs had found favour with the King's advisor. Moreover, some people found Giovanni's work absurdly out of date. Despite the changing wind in the world of painting, Giovanni managed to secure a painting job with the major commission in 1767. Giovanni's task was to paint several altarpieces for the newly finished San. Pascal at Aranjuez.
The Immaculate conception was among the seven pieces painted by Giovanni. The pieces reflected some of the major devotional practices of the Franciscan Order, which include devotion to Christ Child, Eucharist, and to the purity of the Virgin Mary. The believers of this order hold the painting of Immaculate conception with regards considering it is placed at the alter. This painting was placed to the left of the altar's high table.
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