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Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, A Vision of the Trinity

Key facts
Full title A Vision of the Trinity appearing to Pope Saint Clement (?)
Artist Giovanni Battista Tiepolo
Artist dates 1696 - 1770
Date made about 1735-9
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 69.2 × 55.2 cm
Acquisition credit Bought with the aid of the Art Fund, 1957
Inventory number NG6273
Location Room 39
Collection Main Collection
A Vision of the Trinity
Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

This highly finished oil sketch relates to an altarpiece that Giovanni Battista Tiepolo painted for the chapel at the palace of Nymphenburg, outside Munich, in around 1735 (now in the Alte Pinakothek, Munich). Saint Clement kneels in the foreground, a vision of the Trinity above him. God the Father and Christ, who wears a shroud and holds the Cross, are seated on a cloud; the dove of the Holy Ghost hovers below.

Tiepolo was celebrated for his use of colour and light. Here, swathes of bold primary colours mark the earthly, holy and celestial parts of the painting – the red of the carpet, the yellow gold of Saint Clement’s vestment and the blue of the angels' draperies.

A pale light pours in through the classical arch in the background and a silvery cloud carries the holy figures upwards in a spiral of movement. The kneeling saint, too, appears to be moving upward, towards his vision.

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