Exhibition | Tiepolo, Guardi, and Their World

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on September 12, 2013

Press release (3 September 2013) from The Morgan:

Tiepolo, Guardi, and Their World: Eighteenth-Century Venetian Drawings
The Morgan Library & Museum, New York, 27 September 2013 — 5 January 2014

Organized by William M. Griswold and Jennifer Tonkovich


Giambattista Tiepolo, Psyche Transported to Olympus, pen and brown ink, brown wash, over black chalk (New York: The Morgan Library & Museum, photo by Graham S. Haber)

The eighteenth century witnessed Venice’s second Golden Age. Although the city was no longer a major political power, it reemerged as an artistic capital, with such gifted artists as Giambattista Tiepolo, his son Domenico, Canaletto, and members of the Guardi family executing important commissions from the church, nobility, and bourgeoisie, while catering to foreign travelers and bringing their talents to other Italian cities and even north of the Alps. Drawn entirely from the Morgan’s collection of eighteenth-century Venetian drawings—one of the world’s finest—Tiepolo, Guardi, and Their World chronicles the vitality and originality of an incredibly vibrant period. The exhibition will be on view from September 27, 2013 to January 5, 2014.

“In the eighteenth century, as the illustrious history of the thousand-year-old Venetian Republic was coming to a close, the city was favored with an array of talent that left a lasting mark on western art,” said William M. Griswold, director of the Morgan Library & Museum and principal curator of the exhibition. “The names Tiepolo, Canaletto, and Guardi are almost synonymous with the time and place, and their paintings and frescoes are the works most commonly associated with the Settecento in Venice. But their greatness as painters is only part of a much larger story. The drawings in this exhibition, chosen entirely from the Morgan’s collection, bring to light the full spirit of eighteenth-century Venetian art and the many extraordinary individuals who participated in the resurgence of cultural activity that characterized the final years of the Republic.”

The Morgan has more than two hundred sheets by Giambattista Tiepolo, spanning his long and immensely successful career. Over thirty are on view in the exhibition, including a monumental early drawing of Hercules, dozens of luminous studies in pen and washthe frescoed ceilings for which Tiepolo was most famouand a late study for an overdoor decoration that he created in Madrid, where he lived and worked from 1762 until his death in 1770.

Many of Tiepolo’s most beautiful drawings relate to the vast fresco depicting Apollo accompanied by other deities and the Four Continents, which the artist painted in 1740 on a ceiling in the Palazzo Clerici, Milan. Several works in the show, such as a drawing of Father Time and Cupid, relate directly to the finished fresco. A number of others were ultimately rejected by Tiepolo, or instead relate to the spectacular oil sketch for the Palazzo Clerici ceiling that now belongs to the Kimbell Art Museum, in Fort Worth.

Giambattista Tiepolo, The Virgin and Child Seated on a Globe, pen and brown ink, brown and ochre wash, over black chalk
(New York: The Morgan Library & Museum)

A highlight of the exhibition is Tiepolo’s remarkable drawing The Virgin and Child Seated on a Globe, which like a number of other sheets on view formerly belonged to an album of exceptionally large, finished studies once in the collection of Prince Alexis Orloff. The sheet may be a rare example of the artist’s designs for metalwork, in this case perhaps a processional mace for the Scuola Grande dei Carmini, Venice.

Giovanni Battista Piazzetta was a half a generation older than Giambattista Tiepolo, and he exercised a profound influence on the work of the younger artist. The exhibition includes nine of the Morgan’s more than two hundred drawings by Piazzetta, including figure studies, drawings of ideal heads made for sale to collectors, and a selection of sheets that relate to the artist’s work as a designer of book illustrations.

Sebastiano Ricci played a crucial role in reorienting Venetian painting toward a new, painterly grand manner inspired by such earlier masters as Paolo Veronese. Ricci’s paintings, distinguished by their bright colors and flickering brush work, were a source of inspiration for later eighteenth-century Venetian artists. In addition to two drawings by him, the exhibition also features five sheets by Sebastiano’s nephew and pupil Marco Ricci. Best known for his imaginary landscapes, the younger Ricci’s drawings reflect diverse influences, including Renaissance and later Italian painters and printmakers, and even seventeenth-century Dutch art.

View painting—or vedutismo—flourished in eighteenth-century Venice, and both local collectors and foreign grand tourists eagerly sought images that replicated or merely evoked the unique topography of the city. Such topographical views and architectural capricci inspired by Venice’s architecture, canals, and lagoon were the specialty of Canaletto, who is represented in the exhibition with five drawings. These range from sketches made on the spot to finished works intended for sale. Francesco Guardi similarly excelled in depictions of Venice and nearby locations. Two of his drawings on view depict the richly decorated bucintoro, the state barge on which the doge journeyed each year on Ascension Day to reenact Venice’s symbolic marriage to the sea. Guardi’s drawing of Count Giovanni Zambeccari’s balloon ascent—launched from a platform in the Bacino di San Marco in 1783—is a faithful record of an event, whereas other works by the artist mingle the real with the imaginary.

The Morgan is one of the world’s principal repositories of drawings by Giovanni Battista Piranesi, an artist whose spirited work reflects a variety of influences, from late Baroque stage design to the monuments of ancient Rome. Although few of his surviving drawings were made in his native Venice, the Morgan has a small group, of which a selection is on display. These include a magnificent, large sketch of a gondola, several designs for the interior decoration of Venetian palaces, and one of a very small number of freely drawn figural compositions that apparently date to the first years of the artist’s career.

The last truly great Venetian artist of the period was Domenico Tiepolo, who lived until the first decade of the nineteenth century and saw the collapse of the Venetian Republic in 1797. In 1740 Domenico entered his father Giambattista’s busy workshop, where he rapidly became a key member. The influence of his father was profound, and many drawings by the younger Tiepolo relate to those of Giambattista, but Domenico’s tremulous pen work and layering of wash set his work apart from that of the older artist.

Between 1786 and 1790, Domenico Tiepolo executed a series of more than three hundred New Testament scenes. Six of the Morgan’s twenty-three sheets from the series are on display, including a moving Christ on the Mount of Olives, Saints Peter and John at the Beautiful Gate, and The Holy Family Arrives at the Robbers’ Farm, an unusual subject derived from the Apocrypha.

In another series of about eighty large drawings the artist depicted scenes of Venetian life during the final years of the Republic. The six drawings from the series in the exhibition wittily describe the foibles and excesses of the artist’s contemporaries from all walks of life, including a quack dentist, a storyteller, a bride-to-be with her prospective mother-in-law, and bewigged magistrates.

Toward the very end of his life Domenico Tiepolo undertook one last, important series of drawings: theatrical vignettes chronicling birth, childhood, youthful advenmiddle age, illness, death, and resurrection of the Commedia dell’Arte character Punchinello. Begun in 1797, the year the last doge stepped aside and the thousand-yold Republic of Venice ceased to exist, these drawings are among the greatest achievements of eighteenth-century Venetian art.

In addition, Tiepolo, Guardi, and Their World presents drawings by some of the many lesser-known artists who worked alongside Sebastiano Ricci, Piazzetta, and Giambattista Tiepolo. These include Gaspare Diziani, Franceso Fontebasso, Mattia Bortoloni, Pietro Longhi, Pietro Antonio Novelli, Francesco Tironi, and Giacomo Guardi, whose postcard-like Venetian views in gouache on paper mark the end of a long, glorious tradition.

G A L L E R Y  T A L K S

Tiepolo, Guardi, and Their World: Eighteenth-Century Venetian Drawings
Friday, October 18, 6:30 pm
An informal exhibition tour with Edward Payne, Moore Curatorial Fellow in the Morgan’s Department of Drawings and Prints. Free with museum admission

Tiepolo, Guardi, and Their World: Eighteenth-Century Venetian Drawings
Friday, November 8, 6:30 pm
William M. Griswold, Director of the Morgan, will lead an informal tour of the exhibition. Free with museum admission

Symposium Bringing Art into Being in the Early Modern Period

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on September 12, 2013

From The Courtauld:

Bringing Art into Being in the Early Modern Period
The Courtauld Institute of Art, London, 26 October 2013

Organised by Anya Matthews and Giulia Martina Weston

Complex narratives spanning months, years or even decades exist behind the single bracketed date attached to artworks to indicate their moment of execution or completion. This one-day symposium will explore the ‘ante-natal’ development of early modern art from its conception to its ‘quickening’ and eventual birth. The process fascinated contemporary theorists and continues to raise questions for modern art historians. For example, when was an artistic project considered finished or unfinished? What terms were used to indicate the various stages of bringing an artwork into being, and what implications did these terms have for authorship and authenticity? The creation of art is not the work of a moment or achieved at a single stroke; it involves a series of transpositions from idea to study or plan, from sketch to painting, from plan to building and so on. How did early modern art reflect on the process of its own making?

Ticket/entry details: £16 (£11 students, Courtauld staff/students and concessions). Book online. Or send a cheque made payable to ‘The Courtauld Institute of Art’ to: Research Forum Events Co-ordinator, Research Forum, The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 0RN, stating ‘Fifth Early Modern Symposium’. For further information, email ResearchForumEvents@courtauld.ac.uk.

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9.00  Registration

9.30  Introduction – Anya Matthews and Giulia Martina Weston (The Courtauld Institute of Art)

9.40  Session 1: Inspiration and the Artistic Idea
• Nikola Piperkov (Université Paris I Panthéon, Sorbonne), V(isita) I(nteriora) T(errae) R(ectificando) I(nvenies) O(ccultum) L(apidem): Pieter Brueghel the Elder’s and Adriaen de Vries’ Mercury and Psyche, an Allegory of Artistic and Alchemical Creation
• Anne Bloemacher (University of Münster), Raphael on Invention: Work in Progress Before the Materialisation of the Object
• James Hall (Independent art historian and critic), Sex and Genius: Raphael and Titian as Competing Models of the Creative Artist
• Vasco Nuno Figueiredo de Medeiros (University of Lisbon), Between Heuresis and Mimesis: Artistic Science and the Iconopoiesis as Mediators of the Creative Process

11.30  Coffee and Tea Break

12.00  Session 2: Breaking Boundaries
•  Joris Van Gastel (University of Warwick), The Sculptor’s Drawing: An Embodied Approach
• Sefy Hendler (Tel Aviv University): A Paragone in Progress: Parmigianino Recto-Verso Study for Moses
• Claire Gapper (Independent architectural historian), Designing and Executing Decorative Plasterwork in the 16th and 17th Centuries

13.20  Break for lunch

14.20  Session 3: Out of Time
• Carolin Behrmann (Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence -Max-Planck-Institut), In/action: The Non-Finito as Sculptural ‘Actio’
• David Gilks (Queen Mary, University of London), An Impossible Monument: Bringing the French Pantheon Into Being, 1791-94
• Foteini Vlachou (University of Lisbon), The ‘Trial’ and Tribulations of Sequeira’s Allegory of Junot Protecting
the City of Lisbon
• Letha Chien (University of California, Berkeley), The Frustrated Ongoing Saga of the Decorations at the Scuola Grande di San Marco

16.10  Coffee and tea break

16.40  Session 4: Artistic Experimentalism: Practices and Methods
• Kamini Vellodi (Independent art historian and practicing artist), Tintoretto’s Stage-Method: A Modern Constructivism
• Carrie Anderson (Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston), Translation and Translocation: Rethinking the Materiality of the ‘Old Indies’ Series
• Stefan Albl (University of Vienna), From Drawing to Painting: The Genesis of Pietro Testa’s Adorations of
the Shepherds and Some Considerations on His Working Methods

18.00  Reception

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