While Henry Clay Frick was fond of eighteenth-century French and British art, he showed little interest in work produced on the Italian peninsula during that same period. The sole exception was a small painting by Giambattista Tiepolo, which was displayed in the private rooms of the second floor of the house at East 70th Street. Its mythological subject matter evokes the brilliance of the painter’s work, which is most often displayed in grandiose fresco cycles in palaces in Italy. Tiepolo traveled and worked in grand buildings, producing decorations for sites such as the Residenz in Würzburg, Germany, and the Royal Palace in Madrid, in Spain.
The Frick has acquired a small group of significant works from eighteenth-century Venice, shown together in this space. In the eighteenth century, the Republic of Venice flourished as one of the key cities of what was known as the Grand Tour, a journey undertaken by upper-class Europeans as part of their education. Painters like Francesco Guardi produced views of the city for these visitors to bring back home as mementos. Around the same time, Rosalba Carriera became renowned for her production of pastel portraits, often representing sitters in carnival costumes. Most of her patrons were visitors to Venice from Britain, France, and Germany.