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The Marriage of Frederick Barbarossa
Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo
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During the early 1750s, the Venetian artist Giovanni Battista Tiepolo painted a series of frescoes (a type of wall painting made directly onto wet plaster) for the archbishop’s palace in Würzburg in Germany. This picture is a small oil sketch after one of those scenes, probably made by his son Domenico.

Frederick Barbarossa was Holy Roman Emperor from 1155 to 1190, and married Beatrice of Burgundy in 1156. This painting doesn't reflect twelfth-century fashions, however – the setting and costumes are of a sixteenth-century style, and the figure of the emperor is based on Prince-Bishop Karl Philipp von Greiffenklau, who commissioned the fresco.

Most of the surrounding figures gaze towards the bishop who conducts the ceremony, but not everyone is paying attention. A man on the right and a boy to the left look out of the picture, while a court jester climbs the steps towards a barking dog.

Key facts
Artist Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo
Artist dates 1727 - 1804
Full title The Marriage of Frederick Barbarossa and Beatrice of Burgundy
Date made about 1752-3
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 72.4 x 52.7 cm
Acquisition credit Bequeathed by the Misses Cohen as part of the John Samuel collection, 1906
Inventory number NG2100
Location in Gallery Not on display
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