Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696 - 1770)

Rest on the Flight to Egypt with two Angels, 1753 - 1762

With the purchase of this remarkable drawing of the Venetian Baroque painter Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, we could impressively close a gap in the collection of Italian drawings, as this outstanding artist before was only represented in our Department of Prints and Drawings with several small caricatures.

The sheet initially belonged to a compilation album with ca. 60 washed ink drawings by Tiepolo of all variations of the theme »Rest of the Holy Family on the Flight to Egypt«. Tiepolo began producing these drawings from 1753 onward, after returning to Venice from Würzburg, where he had created his famous ceiling frescos in the Residence palace. The latest date of origin to be mentioned is 1762, when Tiepolo left the lagoon city for the Spanish royal court in Madrid.

The artist himself had compiled the album of drawings and had passed it on to his son Lorenzo Tiepolo, who was a cleric in the convent of Santa Maria della Salute. The edition later entered the collection of Count Leopoldo Cicognara and then into that of the famous sculptor Antonio Canova, before it was broken up in the 19th century and its drawings were dispersed across the globe.

Beyond splendidly complementing the collection in general, the acquisition of this drawing, with its iconography reflecting a recurring theme in Italian art, is of great significance for the Hamburger Kunsthalle, for in 2019 a large exhibition will be dedicated to this Venetian artist.