A testament to Giovanni Battista's ingenuity as a decorative designer, this pair of figures relates to the decoration of the ceiling of the main gallery of Palazzo Clerici, Milan, commissioned from the artist in 1740-41 from the local patrician Giorgio Antonio Clerici. One of the most accomplished of the artist's career, the Clerici ceiling depicts the course of the Chariot of the Sun through the sky, studded with deities and surrounded by the four continents, marine and terrestrial creatures, among which satyrs and nymphs leaning towards palm trees, as in the present sheet.
Freshly drawn with wash, this luminous study relates to a group of fifteen featuring mythological figures caught in bold foreshortening, now divided between the Museo Horne, Florence, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Morgan Library & Museum in New York (the suite was recently reviewed by W. Barcham, Tiepolo's Pictorial Imagination: Drawings for Palazzo Clerici, New York, 2017). After having studied the single figures and before approaching the fresco on the long gallery's ceiling, Tiepolo realized a large oil sketch for the whole decoration now at the Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth (inv. AP 1985.04).