Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Italian painter and printmaker Giovanni Battista Tiepolo was born on March 5, 1696, in the Republic of Venice. A prolific fresco artist in the “Grand Manner,” he was a painter to the Doge at a young age, then embarked on a long career of painting frescoes for royalty and the wealthy in Italy, Spain, Germany, Sweden and Russia. He became an international star by adorning the walls and ceilings of palaces, churches and villas with immense, theatrical scenes inhabited by gods, saints and historical and mythological figures that tell their stories in costumed splendor, often set against dramatic, light-filled skies. His artistic legacy consists of more than 800 paintings, 2,400 drawings, two sets of etchings, and acre upon acre of luminous frescoes, the actions and settings of which often seem to spill out of their frames and into the room. Pictured: “The Banquet of Cleopatra” (1747), Palazzo Labia, Venice, and detail.