Works Previously Associated with Palazzo Archinto

Apart from the three modelli in Lisbon, New York, and Los Angeles, no extant sketches by Tiepolo are related to the frescoes at Palazzo Archinto. Earlier scholars had connected two paintings by Tiepolo (now at the Akademie in Vienna and the Bowes Museum) and a drawing from the British Museum, all three of which depict Apollo and Phaëton. The iconographical links notwithstanding, the curators of the present exhibition consider these works unrelated to the Archinto fresco cycle. The exhibition provides a unique opportunity to compare them. Ten years before his stay in Milan, about 1720, Tiepolo had painted a fresco of Apollo and Phaëton in Villa Baglioni at Massanzago, but it is likely that these works relate to a later commission showing the same subject.
  • Pen and ink drawing of allegorical figures.

    School of Giambattista Tiepolo (1696–1770)
    Apollo and Phaëton, ca. 1730–40
    Pen and brown ink over a black chalk sketch, brown watercolor and white lead on gray-green paper
    15 1/4 × 20 1/2 in. (386 × 521 mm)
    The British Museum, London
    © Trustees of the British Museum


    Traditionally attributed to Tiepolo and linked to his frescoes at Palazzo Archinto, this drawing seems to be an independent work not directly related to the Milanese fresco cycle or the Los Angeles sketch. The quality of the drawing is inferior to that usually achieved by Tiepolo. It may have been executed by Francesco Zugno, who worked alongside Tiepolo on the Rerum Italicarum Scriptores in the early 1730s. The large size of the drawing suggests it may have been intended for the collectors' market.

  • Painting of mythical scene of Apollo and Phaethon.

    Giambattista Tiepolo (1696–1770)
    Apollo and Phaëton, ca. 1730–35
    Oil on canvas
    26 3/4 × 20 7/8 in. (68 × 53 cm)
    Gemäldegalerie der Akademie der bildenden Künst, Vienna
    Gemäldegalerie der Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien


    This painting depicts the same episode shown in the Archinto ceiling. Here, the principal grouping of Apollo and his son Phaëton appears at the top left. Apollo stands on a cloud, while Phaëton kneels in front of him, holding a torch. Above them, Time flies inexorably. On the right are the Four Seasons, not dissimilar in composition from the Archinto fresco. Below them, the Hours tether two horses to the gold chariot of the Sun. A younger winged figure appears at the top, pouring water out of a vase and extinguishing a torch. This is probably Lucifer, the morning star. To the right, between Time and Autumn, the arch of the zodiac is portrayed, with the symbols of Libra, Scorpio, and Sagittarius. The handling of this sketch is freer and more assertive than in the Los Angeles sketch. And this canvas does not seem to be preparatory for a ceiling, as it shows the scene frontally instead of in perspective from below.

  • Study for a fresco cycle depicting Apollo and Phaethon.

    Giambattista Tiepolo (1696–1770)
    Apollo and Phaëton, ca. 1735–40
    Oil on canvas
    38 5/8 × 29 in. (98.1 × 73.6 cm)
    The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, County Durham, United Kingdom


    This painting depicts the same episode that Tiepolo frescoed on one of the five ceilings of Palazzo Archinto. Apollo, draped in red, holds a small vase with the ointment that was to protect his son's face while driving the chariot of the Sun. A Cupid flies into the composition, bringing Apollo his lyre. In the background, to the right, are the Four Seasons. Below, the Hours and a Cupid tie the horses to the gold chariot, though here, with its large wheels, it is closer to a country buggy. In the distant background, to the right, is Morpheus, asleep, with a bat flying overhead. While in the other renderings of this scene, Tiepolo showed Phaëton asking his father to drive the chariot of the Sun, in this painting, Phaëton is on his way. He steps forward, naked, barely covered by a yellow drape, holding a torch. He clasps his father's right hand, as he kisses it in a tender gesture of gratitude. Time is between the figures of father and son and powerfully separates them. In the other two paintings, the scene is serene, but here Tiepolo adds a dramatic, somewhat tragic tone, redolent of looming death. The size of the canvas prompts the question of whether it can be considered a modello at all. It may simply have been an independent painting. The sketchy effect and the roughed-out areas of paint suggest that it was left unfinished by Tiepolo.

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