Giuseppe ZAIS - 1709 – 1784
The Holy Family with Saint Ann, Saint Joachim
and God the Father above
Venetian School

Pen and brown and grey ink
Brown and grey wash
Squared in black chalk

39.9 x 26.5 cm paper
33.9 x 18.5 cm image

Euro : 2600,-

Giuseppe Zais, born in Forno di Canale (Belluno) in 1709, appeared in Venice in 1748 and was enrolled in the Fraglia dei Pittori until 1768. Giuseppe Zais was Marco Ricci's greatest follower and is one of the two artists which most represents landscape painting and drawing in the Venetian Rococo, the other being Francesco Zuccarelli. Both were contemporaries, but the style of their work is quite different. Zuccarelli has a gentle, sugary style that gradually absorbs neoclassical elements, while Zais bases his art more firmly on the tradition of Sebastiano Ricci and uses brilliant and luminous colors. Giuseppe Zais died in Treviso in 1784.

While mainly known for his landscape drawings and paintings, Giuseppe Zais also made religious works, as the church was still one of the main patrons to the Venetian artists. The most convincing comparative drawing by Giuseppe Zais is the "Virgin and Child Appearing to Saint Anthony of Padua" which is kept in the Philadelphia Museum of Art (, the "Annunciation" formerly in the Robert Lehman Collection in New York and the two gouaches of "The Flight into Egypt" and the "Adoration of the Shepherds" both kept in the Museo Civico in Padua. Certainly also his landscape drawings can be used for comparison, since the morphology of the figures is identical and as well as the treatment of the vegetation. Such drawings are the "Landscape with Peasants" kept in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York ( It is especially in the later period of his activity after the 1750's, when he came in contact with Francesco Zuccarelli, that he began to produce these types of drawings, as the present sheet.

The present drawing may have been part of a series or a group of presentation drawings by Giuseppe Zais, as a similar sized and shaped drawing by the artist was with Sotheby's Milano in 1999, showing "God the Father with the Dead Christ, seated in the Clouds". That drawing is executed in the same technique and is also squared for transference.

The attribution has been confirmed by Prof. Bernard Aikema, in a written communication, dated March 12th, 2016, upon having seen the present drawing in the original.


This site has been optimized for Internet Explorer 4.x and higher. Screen Resolution 1024 x 768.
Copyright © Stefan Kekko. All rights reserved.

E-mail us to report errors on this website.