2020 was truly a special year: leaving aside its painful events due to the Covid-19 emergency, it was the year in which the 250th anniversary of Tiepolo’s death, one of the greatest painters of 18th century art in Venice, was celebrated.
Although Tiepolo’s commemoration events have just ended, we have decided to continue to pay homage to the great Venetian artist also in 2021, a year filled with hope, and have dedicated this special page to him: by clicking on the menu to the side you will discover the places where you can admire his most important works in Venice and in Vicenza, but we have also looked further afield. You will learn new things about Tiepolo's life and career you hadn’t heard about before thanks to numerous articles dedicated to him... but that’s not all!
There are two major initiatives to mark the 250th anniversary of Tiepolo's death:
The Tiepolo 250 project: conceived and organized by the city of Vicenza, this offers a single ticket to visit three villas and two palaces in the Vicenza area that host the most significant works of the great genius: Villa Valmarana ai Nani in Vicenza, Villa Zileri Motterle in Monteviale, Villa Cordellina Lombardi in Montecchio Maggiore and then Palazzo Chiericati, which houses the Civic Museum of Vicenza and Palazzo Barbaran Da Porto, where the Andrea Palladio International Study Center is located.
Your Own Tiepolo: interesting guided tours you can fully customize that will lead you to discover Giambattista Tiepolo’s greatest masterpieces and the places in Venice and Vicenza where he worked and lived, accompanied by an expert local guide who has the knowledge to answer all your questions!
Are you ready to trace the steps of the 'last true decorator'? Make the most of all the info we have collected for you and start your Tiepolo’s journey!
WHO WAS GIAMBATTISTA TIEPOLO?
Giambattista Tiepolo was one of the most important artists of Venice’s art in the 18th century and left a mark on Europe’s artistic scene thanks to his exceptional stylistic charisma and his luminous painting.
Tiepolo was born in 1696 in Venice into a middle-class family, which was not connected to the art’s world. He began his apprenticeship in 1710 at the workshop of Gregorio Lazzarini, one of the greatest artists at the time, and was enrolled in the Fraglia or guild of Venetian Painters as early as 1717.
His training took place in a particularly prosperous period from a historical and cultural point of view: the Age of Enlightenment was making its way throughout Europe and Venice, the city where Tiepolo was born, lived and trained, became one of the favorite destinations of European intellectuals precisely for its artistic and cultural character.
In 1719 Giambattista secretly married Cecilia Guardi, sister of the painters Francesco, Antonio and Niccolò, with whom he had ten children including Lorenzo and Giandomenico who became his most faithful collaborators.
The Venetian artist at the beginning of his career was attracted to the gloomy painting with dark and contrasting tones and the dramatic style similar to that of his contemporary Giovan Battista Piazzetta. These elements are found in some early works such as, for example, in 'The Sacrifice of Isaac' made for the Chiesa dell'Ospedaletto in Venice in 1716 or in the 'The Martyrdom of St. Bartholomew’ (1722-23) at the Chiesa di San Stae.
Starting from 1724 Tiepolo began to gradually abandon the 'tenebrous' style to embrace a brighter one similar to that of Veronese and Sebastiano Ricci. This can already be seen in the frescoed decorations of Palazzo Sandi or in the 'Apotheosis of St. Theresa' in the Chiesa degli Scalzi in Venice, examples also of the great master's extraordinary ability for optical illusion and perspective.
Giambattista Tiepolo embraced and developed in a completely original way the rules of Baroque painting: immense blue skies open between the vaults, figures that are lost in an infinite spatial vision, the illusionistic space that merges into the real one, bringing the viewer to lose the perception of the borders... Giambattista with great technical skill, evolves these limitless realities to the maximum by inserting historical characters and allegories with the aim of celebrating the glories of his illustrious clients.
Thanks to his extraordinary talents and his incomparable art, Tiepolo managed to build a dense network of relationships with illustrious Italian and foreign clients: he obtained important commissions from the Doge of Venice, noble Venetian families such as Rezzonico, Pisani, Labia and Valmarana and beyond the Italy’s confines, the Prince Bishop of Würzburg Carlo Filippo, for whom he frescoed his residence with the help of his sons Giandomenico and Lorenzo. In 1762 Tiepolo went to Spain at the invitation of King Charles III where he worked to decorate the Royal Palace of Madrid and where he died in 1770.