Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

pen and ink drawing of two figures and infant, one holding book

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696–1770)
The Holy Family with Saint Joseph Reading
c. 1757
Pen, brown ink, and gray brown wash
Samuel Courtauld Trust: Princes Gate Bequest, 1978

During the late 1750s Tiepolo produced as many as seventy drawings of the Holy Family. This freshly preserved composition is both monumental and tender, as Mary cares for the Christ Child while Joseph reads a book. Washes of varying intensity model the figures, creating transparent shadows and deep pockets of shade on the luminous sheet.

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