Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo

Dates1727 - 1804

Although very successful as a painter and engraver, Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo made some of his most provocative works as drawings. He trained in the studio of his famous father, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, and was independently producing works for his own commissions by the age of twenty. He continued to work with his father while at times executing his own designs, until his father's death in 1770. His subjects, both religious and secular, reveal that he developed a more straightforward approach to composition than his father's work demonstrates.

Tiepolo seems to have stopped working for about fifteen years, after which he began painting and drawing in a completely different manner. Punchinello, a physically deformed combination clown and bumpkin based specifically on a character from the commedia dell'arte, became the protagonist of his work. In the 1790s, Tiepolo painted frescoes of Punchinello in his Venetian family villa and created a series of 104 drawings as Entertainments for the Children. These amusing and elaborately detailed drawings poked fun at pretensions and inspired viewers to reflect on their own behavior.