Sketch for a Ceiling

Sketch for a Ceiling


Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

(Italian, 1696-1770)

Oil on canvas

Framed: 51.5 x 43 x 6.5 cm (20 1/4 x 16 15/16 x 2 9/16 in.); Unframed: 41 x 34 cm (16 1/8 x 13 3/8 in.)

Holden Collection 1916.780



This small, quickly painted picture is typical of the sketches Tiepolo made as studies for larger compositions. When completed full-scale on a ceiling, works like these give the impression of a massive window, through which one can see angels or mythological beings floating among the clouds. Although we know from the work's shape that it was a study for a ceiling painting, it is not related to any of Tiepolo's finished architectural decorations. Tiepolo used such sketches to explore design problems, experiment with form and color, or give his clients an idea of how a finished project would look. With the help of a large workshop, which included two of his sons, Tiepolo completed a number of painted ceilings and decorative schemes across Europe.

See also
Type of artwork: 
Oil on canvas
Credit line: 
Holden Collection

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