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July 2004

Giambattista Tiepolo's Young Lady in a Tricorn Hat

Arch Facial Plast Surg. 2004;6(4):284. doi:10.1001/archfaci.6.4.284

The close of the 16th century marked the end of a Golden Age of Venetian painting as, in the 17th century, Rome became the artistic center of the Italian baroque. The dawn of the 18th century witnessed a revival of the visual arts in Venice, however, through the works of such celebrated masters as Sebastiano Ricci and Giovanni Battista Piazzetta. An exact contemporary of Canaletto (1697-1768), Giambattista Tiepolo (1696-1770) is best known for his large-scale fresco cycles and ceilings that recall the grand tradition of decorative painting exemplified in the works of Titian and Veronese. The greatest and most versatile Venetian painter of the 18th century, Tiepolo began his career as a painter of religious altarpieces. In 1722, he joined other leading Venetian painters in the decoration of the church of Saint Stae, each executing a painting of an apostle. His masterful chiaroscuro composition of the Martyrdom of St. Bartholomew established his artistic reputation and illustrated the influence of Piazzetta on his early style. Following this success, often in collaboration with the quadratura painter Mengozzi-Colonna, Tiepolo began painting decorative, often soaring illusionistic ceiling frescoes in churches and private villas of the Veneto. In these early frescoes, Tiepolo adopted his signature cool palette and introduced the haughty, aristocratic figures that would populate his paintings.