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GIOVANNI BATTISTA TIEPOLO (Venice 1696-1770 Madrid)
GIOVANNI BATTISTA TIEPOLO (Venice 1696-1770 Madrid)

Saint Joseph

Details
GIOVANNI BATTISTA TIEPOLO (Venice 1696-1770 Madrid)
Saint Joseph
oil on canvas
23 x 19 7/8 in. (58.5 x 50.5 cm.)
Sale Room Notice
Please note the correct estimate for this lot is $150,000-180,000.

Lot Essay

This newly discovered, previously unpublished work by Giambattista Tiepolo can be dated to the mid-1760s based on its late style, to the period when Tiepolo and his sons were in Madrid decorating the Royal Palace of Charles III of Spain.

Tiepolo painted numerous depictions of Joseph, husband of the Virgin Mary, throughout his long career and as in the present lot, usually holding a flowering rod, one of his attributes. According to Saint Jerome, the suitors of Mary each brought a rod to the high priest of the Temple. Joseph's rod blossomed, a sign from Heaven that he was chosen to be her husband and a symbol of the Virgin's holy state because it flowered without being fertilized.

Giambattista and his son Domenico regularly painted half-length depictions of the saints to be sold on the art market for private veneration. The present lot may have been inspired by Giambattista's design for Saint Joseph and the Christ Child, intended to be one of the seven altarpieces that the artist executed after 1767 for the new convent church of S. Pascual Baylon at Aranjuez, a royal retreat on the river Tagus. Only fragments of the altarpiece and Tiepolo's original modello (Courtauld Institute Galleries, London) survive.

As with many late works traditionally given to Giambattista, it has been suggested recently that the present Saint Joseph might have been executed by his son, Domenico.
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