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Giovanni Battista Tiepolo
(Venice, Italy, 1696 - 1770, Madrid, Spain)
Trained by a minor figure of the late Seicento, Tiepolo took his first stylistic direction from Piazzetta. Steadily he moved toward the bright palette and decorative sense of Sebastiano Ricci and reinforced his lessons by returning to 16th-century Venetian painting, Veronese in particular. With a manner of unparalleled amplitude, rhythm, and color coalescing during the 1730s, Tiepolo became the protagonist of his school’s second great age, the painter most sought across North Italy, and a determining influence upon developments in Central Europe, France, and later on Spain until the rise of Neo-classicism. He was extraordinarily prolific and convincing in all genres of painting, but brilliant above all in glorious decorative ensembles for numerous palaces and villas in the Veneto, at Udine (1726), Milan (7130s), Würzburg (1750-53), and Madrid (from 1762). Endlessly inventive variations upon the full repertory of Baroque themes, utterly personal in vocabulary and spontaneous in touch, Tiepolo’s drawings and etchings count among the finest achievements in their respective media. In many senses, Tiepolo is the last great Old Master.