Giovanni Tiepolo is one of the most recognized rococo artists of the eighteenth century, and few people have managed to create art that is as lasting and appreciated as his is. Giovanni Tiepolo was born in Venice in 1696, and he lived until 1770. He is one of the greatest painters in Italy, and his work has influenced many people over the years. As a young man, Tiepolo apprenticed under Gregorio Lazzarini. Many artists did so during the time, as a way for them to develop their talent. Tiepolo developed his talent at an early age, and he was able to develop his own art form, which was different from that of his teacher. He also developed financially, as he was able to develop his work and exhibit it when he was still very young.
Many people in the art world, in and around Venice, recognized him, and they appreciated his work. He became a member of the painter’s guild while he was still a youth. His marriage to Cecilia Guardi indicated the influence that he had in the art world. Cecilia was the sister of two recognized painters in Italy, Francesco and Antonio Guardi. He had nine children, and two of his sons followed his example. They became painters, even if they never reached the heights their father did or received as much recognition as he did. Tiepolo developed as an artist, and he specialized in ceiling frescos and paintings. In his life, Tiepolo managed to make great accomplishments and he was recognized for his work, leaving a legacy that many people admire and respect to this day.
As Tiepolo gained more experience in art, he became more confident in the way he was developing his work, and this enabled him to change his style of painting. He changed from using the darker hues, which he was familiar with, and he began using light colors. Many people would remember him for this latter trend. Tiepolo got many commissions for his art. He completed his first major commission, the Sacrifice of Isaac, even before he was twenty years old. His first commission outside Venice was doing a fresco in the archbishop’s palace in Udine. It took him close to two years to finish the fresco. This was a reflection of his patience and resilience, attributes that continued to define his life and work over the years. Tiepolo could paint frescos in a short time, because of his advanced skill. He managed to complete two frescos within one month at one time. However, he also recognized when a particular work needed more time to finish.
As was custom during the time, many artists specialized in painting religious figures and events, and many of them got their commissions from churches and palaces. Tiepolo was no exception in this. His careful and expert mastery of color and lighting enabled him to paint many frescos and ceilings. He also got commissions to work in palaces. Tiepolo distinguished himself from the start. Once he received a commission, he worked on it with such expertise that it became a masterpiece. This popularized him more, and many people became aware of his work. His fame enabled him to paint in and around Italy. This led to him leaving Venice and traveling to Wurzburg in 1750 to paint the archbishop’s palace. This was ultimately the largest commission he had, and it ended up being the largest mural painting (Bramblett 434). It was also his most defining and the most creative work he had ever done. He worked on the dining room and the ceiling of the grand staircase. He returned to Venice in 1753 and he continued getting commissions in different parts of Italy. He continued painting in Italy until he went to Spain, where he painted the royal palace at the request of King Charles II.
Tiepolo had many people who influenced his life as an artist. He learnt from many artists in the baroque period, and this was evident in his work. His first lessons were from Lazzarini, and he copied his use of dark hues, until he broke away and managed to develop his own art form, which were more spirited and colorful. He was influenced a lot by Giovanni Piazzetta and Sebastiano Ricci. Although recognized for his frescos, he began by doing oil paintings. These paintings were most recognizable because of their contorted figures, dark tones, dramatic lighting, and expressions (Strachan and Bolton 190). It is clear that Tiepolo admired Paolo Veronese’s works, although the two artists were very distinct. Veronese’s influence in Tiepolo’s work was mostly visible in his use of color.
Tiepolo learned a lot from the different people who influenced his life and his work, but in all the cases, he made sure that he distinguished his work by adding his own unique and individual style. Tiepolo recognized the need of working with others, and seeking help when necessary. Other than his sons, he also worked with Gerolamo Colonna who did illusionist architecture. He worked with him to bring out the different elements of illusion he needed in his work, such as when he worked on the Meeting of Anthony and Cleopatra and the defining Apollo Bringing the Bride.
The many years that he spent learning and developing his technique, enabled him to acquire the best technique in brushwork and color. These two factors assisted him in becoming a fresco painter. He was able to include color and manage lighting in such a way that it created such paintings of depth and form. Frescos are paintings on walls or ceilings, in which the artists do not use any binding agents. Frescos were the most preferred decorative features of the churches in Italy. Different artists in different art movements including the renaissance, baroque and rococo painted frescos, and most of them did so in churches and palaces. Tiepolo developed frescos, and he distinguished them because they were light and airy. He was able to do this by including open skies in his paintings.
He worked on different altarpieces in churches in Venice and other cities in Italy. Tiepolo was a storyteller, and he used his paintings to tell the stories. Tiepolo’s works were not just paintings, but he used them to express himself and to tell stories. Some people describe his work as theatrical because of the expressions exhibited by the characters. He painted the narratives when he was doing both secular and religious work (Strachan and Bolton 190). He not only painted religious figures, but he used the opportunity presented to tell the story behind the painting. When painting religious figures, he worked with different religious advisers. His use of color and lighting created paintings that were realistic. At the same time, he used the paintings to bring out several themes, making them relevant in his day.
The rococo was an art movement, which largely improved on the baroque movement. It developed in the early part of the eighteenth century. It brought life to the baroque movement, in the fact that the artists used lighter colors and asymmetrical designs. The rococo did not last as long as other movements such as the baroque and it was not widespread in many countries in Europe as other art movements had been. However, it did make major improvements and contributions to art and architecture. The art movement developed at a time when Tiepolo was emerging and developing as an artist. He was the most recognized rococo artist in Italy. The rococo movement was characterized by a departure from the religious figures, as artists were willing to explore more, and represent different aspects of life. Tiepolo was largely a secular artist although he did work on many religious figures, especially those involving the patriarchs. He was centrally placed in the art world, and he developed his art in a way that reflected the use of different elements of the rococo movement, as well as his own spirited techniques.
Tiepolo was successful in what he did, and many artists recognized his contributions to art. His movement from Venice to Germany, and then to Spain, was because of the fame that he had gathered as an artist. Unlike many artists, Tiepolo did not struggle to get recognition for his work, and neither did he struggle to get commissions. In Spain, artists such as Anton Mengs did not like the fact that he got commissions from their country. King Charles II had summoned Tiepolo to work on the palace, and Mengs was the court painter at the time. Mengs was at the forefront in developing and advancing neoclassical movement. The neoclassical movement followed the rococo movement in the latter part of the eighteenth century.
Tiepolo demonstrated how artists could learn from each other; while at the same time contribute to their art. He was willing to learn from many people, some of whom had painted long before he was born, and others who painted within the same period. His decision to maintain his own unique style and individuality led to him becoming one of the most recognized Italian artists of the rococo movement. He was not afraid to incorporate new things in his works. This made the art form grow. He ended up influencing his sons to follow the same paths. Tiepolo worked on his work with patience, diligence, and resilience and he did not compromise on his work. This produced long lasting and admirable work. Although he got many commissions, he did not complete his work in a hurry so that he could work on the next one. He ensured that he completed the work he had set out to do, and he did it well. Tiepolo provides many lessons for people to learn. Artists and people in other fields can learn from his life in the way he did his work. He managed to live a legacy, which is admired to this day. Many people continue to view his work with admiration today, and museums continue to exhibit many of his works.
Bramblett, Reid. Frommer’s Northern Italy: Including Venice, Milan, & the Lakes. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, 2004. Print
Seydl, L. Jon and Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. Giambattista Tiepolo: Fifteen Oil Sketches. Los Angeles: Getty Publications, 2005. Print
Strachan, Edward and Roy Bolton. Russia and Europe in the 19th Century. United Kingdom: Sphinx Fine Art, 2008. Print
The J. Paul Getty Museum. Artists: Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. Web. Jan. 7. 2013< http://www.getty.edu/art/gettyguide/artMakerDetails?maker=787>
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