Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

1696 - 1770

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, a Venetian, was the greatest Italian Rococo painter, although his style was founded on the Grand Manner of the High Renaissance. His imaginative decorative frescoes are light in colour and airy in feel; the National Gallery's 'Allegory with Venus and Time' was part of a ceiling decoration and is similarly light and airy. He also executed many altarpieces; several small works in the Collection are modelli for frescoes or altarpieces.

Tiepolo was born in Venice and was trained there by Gregorio Lazzarini. He was influenced by his near contemporaries, Piazzetta and Ricci, but is indebted above all to his predecessor Veronese. In 1719 he married the sister of Francesco Guardi, and in his early years worked in Udine (1726), Milan (1731-40) and Bergamo (1741-2), as well as Venice. He moved in 1750 with his sons, Domenico (a considerable artist in his own right) and Lorenzo, to Würzburg to decorate the residence of the Prince-Bishop, and returned to Venice in 1753. In 1755 he was elected Director of the Accademia, Venice.

His later works, quieter and less exuberant in character, were carried out in Spain, where he moved with his sons in 1762 to work for the Spanish monarchy, and where he died.