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Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Saints Maximus and Oswald (?)

Key facts
Full title Saints Maximus and Oswald (?)
Artist Giovanni Battista Tiepolo
Artist dates 1696 - 1770
Date made about 1745
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 58.4 × 32.4 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1885
Inventory number NG1192
Location Room 39
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
Saints Maximus and Oswald (?)
Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

This small picture is based on an altarpiece Tiepolo made in about 1742 for a church in Padua. The altarpiece, which is still in situ, is dedicated to Saints Maximus and Oswald, though only the figure of Saint Maximus is the same in both.

Saint Maximus, the second bishop of Padua, is shown here draped in an exquisite embroidered robe and with his fingertips gently pressed together. Saint Oswald, in gleaming armour, was King of Northumbria in England; he died fighting the pagan ruler of neighbouring Mercia.

A young man with a palm branch tucked into his clothing – a reference to eternal life – kneels beside Maximus and glances towards the cherubs descending from the ceiling of the loggia (open-sided gallery or room). The architecture draws our eye towards the carefully arranged group of figures set against a bright and airy background.

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