This charming scene comes from a series of studies of centaurs and satyrs, which James Byam Shaw described as 'the most delightful and original of all Domenico's allegorical and mythological subjects' (The Drawings of Domenico Tiepolo, London, 1962, p. 41). The drawings were apparently executed as independent works of art, although they can be linked with themes which appeared in Domenico's mature painted works. In 1759 he painted a decorative cycle showing satyrs for the Zianigo family's country villa, in a room afterwards known as the Camera dei Satiri, while, some thirty years later, he executed another mythological scheme for the same family representing scenes of centaurs (1791; both fresco cycles now in the Ca' Rezzonico, Venice). Byam Shaw has suggested that the present series may date from between these two fresco cycles, perhaps to around 1770.
Signature: Signed 'Dom Tiepolo f.'
Anonymous sale; Sotheby's, London, 6 July 1992, lot 100.
with Kate Ganz Ltd., New York.
About Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo
Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo’s first teacher was his father, the infamous and accomplished Italian Renaissance artist Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. Though sometimes remembered in art history as having lived under his father’s shadow, Tiepolo developed his own style and began independently working for commissions starting at the age of 20. He produced paintings, engravings, and drawings for both secular and religious purposes. Among his most famous works were the frescoes depicting scenes from commedia dell’arte, a celebrated early form of improvisational theater. This subject became an important motif in many of Tiepolo’s later works: His mature paintings often featured a central protagonist named “Punchinello,” a clown inspired by characters from the commedia (and a precursor to Punch of "Punch and Judy".)
Italian, 1727-1804, Venice, Italy, based in Venice, Italy