The Frick Collection
Domenico Tiepolo (1727-1804): A New Testament
Exhibitions: Domenico Tiepolo

Domenico Tiepolo (1727–1804): A New Testament
October 24, 2006, through January 7, 2007

Domenico's Drawing Technique

  The Presentation of Mary in the Temple
  Domenico Tiepolo (1727–1804), detail of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane: The Second Prayer, Private collection, Indiana, on loan to the Indiana University At Museum, Bloomington

From the sheer number of surviving examples, Domenico’s passion for drawing is evident. He used large, uncut sheets of thick, handmade paper bearing diverse watermarks (the most common being three crescent moons). On each sheet, he laid out a rough composition in black chalk and worked up the final idea by layering in washes of various densities and colors using bistre, sepia, or iron gall ink. Reserving the paper to serve as highlights, he then delineated the whole with a trembling, superficially clumsy outline — a signature graphic mark distinct from his father’s fluid virtuosity. With such relatively simple materials — paper, pen, and ink — Domenico created masterworks of visual complexity.

Poised between two eras, he honored the past, even as he employed devices (such as split-second timing, sequential images, and cut-offs) that anticipate the modern technology of the camera and film. The drawings in the New Testament series are dated 1786–90 and are executed in pen, ink, and wash over black chalk.

Zoom into the details of three works in the collection of the Indiana University Art Museum, Bloomington: The Third Temptation of Jesus, Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane: The Second Prayer, and The Presentation of Mary in the Temple.

Principal funding for Domenico Tiepolo (1727–1804): A New Testament has been provided by The Peter Jay Sharp Foundation, with major support from the Homeland Foundation. Additional generous support has been provided by Lawrence and Julie Salander, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, the Arthur Ross Foundation, The Helen Clay Frick Foundation, and the Fellows of The Frick Collection.

NEA (National Endowment for the Arts   The project is also supported, in part, by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art.