Giovanni Battista TIEPOLO- 1696 - 1770
Two Studies of Hands Resting on a Book
Venetian School

Black and white chalk
On blue paper

17.9 x 27.5 cm

Provenance :

Euro :

Prince André Poniatowski, Paris 1935
(According to the inscription on the mount where it was as a work by Piazzetta)



Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, born in Venice in 1696, started as an apprentice in the studio of Gregorio Lazzarini and later trained in Venice with Federico Bencovich and Giovanni Battista Piazzetta, and then with Sebastiano Ricci. In the 1720's he had already gained the position of an independent master, working mainly as a fresco painter. In his early frescoes in the Archbishop's Palace in Udine, dated 1726 to 1728, Tiepolo revealed his brilliant colorism for the first time. His contemporaries were amazed by these works and honored him with the title "celebre pittore". In 1731 he was invited to Milan to execute frescoes in the Palazzo Archint and in the Palazzo Dugnani. In nearby Bergamo, Tiepolo executed a prestigious assignment in the Capella Colleoni in 1732. In about 1747 he decorated the Palazzo Labia in Venice and from 1750 to 1753 the Bishop's Palace in Würzburg, which was his masterpiece. After returning to Venice to paint other canvases and frescoes, in 1761 he was recalled to the Royal Palace in Madrid, where he remained until his death in 1770. Tiepolo's work is the most important product of the widespread Rococo style of decoration in Europe.

The present drawing is a rare, early chalk drawing by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, datable to the 1730's which Prof. George Knox describes as having been drawn by "a very competent and sensitive hand" and to be "clearly an original drawing". Hands on books are a favorite element in Giovanni Battista Tiepolo paintings in particular in the early years of the 1730's. This type of early chalk drawing is discussed by Prof. George Knox in "L'Arte del Disegno: Festschrift für Christel Thiem. Berlin, 1997, p.181-189". Comparative chalk drawings are the "Study of Two Hands on a Book, Holding a Quill" with Flavia Ormond Fine Arts in London, the "Study of a Left Hand" formerly with Christie's London in July 2000. Three other drawings can be used for comparison, datable to 1740, "The Left Forearm of a Praying Man" , "The Left Forearm and a Hand" and "The Arm of an Executioner" all kept in the Correr Museum in Venice (inv.nos.7200,7207,7486)

The attribution and dating has been confirmed by Prof. George Knox, Vancouver (Canada), in a letter dated August 8th, 2003.

Literature :
George Knox, "A Panorama of Tiepolo Drawing". 2008, GEmediaprint, page 74, ill.31.

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