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The Storyteller

mid 1770s
18th century
33.8 cm x 57.1 cm (13 5/16 in. x 22 1/2 in.)

Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo (Venice, 1727 - 1804, Venice) Primary

Object Type: painting
Artist Nationality: Europe, Italian
Medium and Support: Oil on canvas
Credit Line: Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, The Suida-Manning Collection, 2017
Accession Number: 2017.1400

Standing on a chair before a crowd in a piazza, a storyteller points to a portable image that helps illustrate his story. The baroque guitar on his back and the triangle in his female assistant's hand suggest that their performance also involved music. Not everyone is absorbed in his story, however. The young lady in a bright orange dress turns her head to respond to the man in a mask, whose suspicious intentions seem to have been noticed by the wary dog in the foreground. The diverse gestures, facial expressions, and colorful attire of the audience offer a glimpse of a popular carnival activity in eighteenth-century Venice. The low viewpoint and the long horizontal format help the viewer to witness the event at the eye level of the depicted figures, which adds to the sense of reality of the painted scene.

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