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Saint John the Evangelist
Tiepolo, Giovanni Battista
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Tiepolo, Giovanni Battista

Venice (Italy), 1696 - Madrid (Italy), 1770

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Saint John the Evangelist

1769. Grey-brown wash, Pencil, Pencil strokes on white paper Not on display

Traditionally, this work was considered a preparatory sketch for the frescoes on the dome of the collegiate church at La Granja. In 1768 Charles III initiated the decoration of that church, and its dome appears in architect Francesco Sabatini’s drawings with eight spaces designated for pictorial scenes. Spanish painters Mariano Salvador Maella (1739-1819) and Francisco Bayeu y Subías (1734-1795) continued work on the decoration after Tiepolo’s death. The latter took over the dome and, as José Manuel de la Mano has pointed out, everything seems to indicate that he followed the design for the project established by Tiepolo. In fact, Saint John the Evangelist by Bayeu (Museo del Prado), also related to the La Granja project, shows that the artist originally proposed a composition close to Tiepolo’s.

Manuela Mena Marqués has questioned whether a group of drawings of evangelists by Tiepolo at the Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid, might also be related to the decoration of the collegiate church at La Granja. Despite the difference in size, those drawings bear clear stylistic and technical similarities to the current drawing and, like this one, they come from the Carderera Collection, Madrid.

In this drawing Tiepolo has applied washes over pencil lines to create volume, and used the whiteness of the paper for highlights; a few rapid, broken pen strokes complete the figures’ contours. Like most of his wash-and-ink drawings, Saint John the Evangelist, c.1769, corresponds to an early stage in the preparatory process for Tiepolo’s paintings, while pencil studies present a more finished aspect.

Outstanding at everything he undertook, Giambattista Tiepolo was especially known for his frescoes and was famous far beyond the borders of his native Venice. In 1750 he moved with his two sons, Giandomenico and Lorenzo, to Würzburg (then in Austria) to decorate the residence of bishop-prince Karl Philipp von Greifenclau zu Vollraths (1690-1754). There Tiepolo painted the Four continents, 1751-53, possibly his best known fresco, in the main stairway of the palace. In 1762 he was called to Madrid by Charles III and was again accompanied by his two sons. There he painted frescoes for the Throne Room at the new Royal Palace. Tiepolo never returned to Venice, and in March 1770 died at the Spanish court while working on the project to which the present drawing is believed to be related (Carlos Varona, M. C. de,: Italian Masterpieces. From Spain´s Royal Court, Museo del Prado, 2014, p. 236).

Technical data

Inventory number
D001286
Author
Tiepolo, Giovanni Battista
Title
Saint John the Evangelist
Date
1769
Technique
Grey-brown wash; Pencil; Pencil strokes
Support
White paper
Dimension
Height: 207 mm.; Width: 298 mm.
Provenance
Bequest of Pedro Fernández Durán y Bernaldo de Quirós, 1931

Bibliography +

Sánchez Cantón, Francisco Javier (1891-1971)), J. B. Tiepolo en España /, Instituto Diego Velázquez., Madrid, 1953, pp. 22 / lám. 48.

Pérez Sánchez, A. E., En: Das große Buch der Graphik : Meisterwerke aus 24 berühmten graphischen Kabinetten, Westermann, Braunschweig, 1968, pp. 377-378.

Pérez Sánchez, Alfonso E., I Grandi Disegni Italiani Nelle Collezioni Di Madrid, Silvana Editoriale D'Arte, Milán, 1978, pp. nº 71.

Mena Marqués, Manuela, Catálogo de Dibujos. VII. Dibujos Italianos del Siglo XVIII y del Siglo XIX, Madrid, 1990, pp. 139, nº 264.

de Carlos Varona, Mª Cruz, Gianbattista Tiepolo 'Saint John Evangelist' En:, Italian masterpieces from Spain's royal court, Museo del Prado, National Gallery of Victoria Thames & Hudson, 2014, pp. 236.

Other inventories +

Inv. Legado Pedro Fernández Durán, 1931. Núm. 409.

Exhibitions +

Italian Masterpieces from Spain's Royal Court. Museo Nacional del Prado
Melbourne
16.05.2014 - 31.08.2014

Displayed objects +

Book

Pen

Update date: 25-07-2019 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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