The entire Tiepolo

Paris. The father, the two sons, and even the apprentice: the Beaux-Arts drawing room allows this rare luxury of offering a portrait of the entire Tiepolo family. The exhibition “The Tiepolo, invention and virtuosity in Venice” thus spans the 18th century from one generation to the next, demonstrating the artistic continuity of this dynasty of Venetian artists.

Giambattista Tiepolo (1696-1770) is at the heart of this little journey: the Fine Arts collection preserves the second largest set of drawings by the patriarch in France. Only around ten sheets, but of exceptional quality, like the two Holy family which seem to flow in a single virtuoso stroke, in an execution that one imagines is as rapid as it is masterful. What value did he place on these independent drawings, which he did not intend for the collectors' market? The two commissioners, Hélène Gasnault and Giulia Longo, see it as a “artistic testament” which he entrusted to his third son who had taken orders, Giuseppe Maria, before his departure for Spain. Giambattista's legacy survives in this treasure now dispersed in major European institutions, but also through his two other sons, Giandomenico (1727-1804) and Lorenzo (1736-1776). The meeting of the three artists opens the doors to a workshop whose practices and exchanges can be glimpsed through a comparative look. The drawings cabinet became “the drawings and prints cabinet – Jean Bonna” a few months ago, integrating 200,000 printed works into the drawn corpus. The Tiepolos show the relevance of this connection through the exhibition of the father's scribbled sheets with the engravings of Giandomenico: the latter uses prints in particular to revive the great painted cycles of his father, in an almost heritage approach.

In another cycle of engraving, the older brother directly responds to criticism of his lack of creativity and proposes twelve iconographic inventions around the same theme, the Flight into Egypt. Always an invention when Giandomenico imagines, in pencil this time, the daily life of a satyr's family. Creative, full of humor and virtuosos, in black and white, the Tiepolos counter the image of stereotypical decorative painters attached to them.

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696-1770), The Polichinelles cookingcirca 1735, pen, brown ink and brown wash.

Fine Arts Photo of Paris

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