Alexander the Great and Campaspe in the Studio of Apelles

Object Details


Alexander the Great and Campaspe in the Studio of Apelles


Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (Italian, 1696 - 1770)




Italy (Place created)


about 1740


Oil on canvas


42.5 x 54 cm (16 3/4 x 21 1/4 in.)

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A boyish artist gazes longingly at the regal woman whose portrait he is painting. The young artist is Alexander the Great's court painter, Apelles, whom ancient writers considered the greatest artist of their time. According to Pliny's Natural History of 77 A.D., Alexander commissioned Apelles to paint a portrait of his favorite concubine, Campaspe. The story illustrates art's transformative powers: Apelles fell in love with his sitter as he captured her beauty on canvas. Alexander so esteemed his painter that he presented Campaspe to Apelles as a reward for the portrait.

The tale of Alexander and Apelles, a favorite of Renaissance and Baroque painters, celebrates the power and nobility of painting. Giovanni Battista Tiepolo painted this episode at least three times. For this, the third rendering, he adopted a classicizing style in which antique architectural elements and relief sculptures evoke a sumptuous palace setting. The background provides a focal area for the gaze of Alexander the Great, who appears handsome and self-confident, yet unaware of the charged glances shared by Apelles and Campaspe.

by 1913

Sedelmeyer Gallery (Paris, France)

Galeries Trotti (Paris, France)

- 1941

Federico Gentili di Giuseppe, 1868 - 1940 (Paris, France) [sold, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, April 23-24, 1941, lot 72, to Hans Wendland.]

1941 - about 1941

Hans Wendland, sold through Walter Andreas Hofer (Berlin) to Herman Göring, about 1941.

about 1941 - 1945

Hermann Göring, 1893 - 1946 (Karinhall, Schorfheide, Brandenburg, Germany), restituted to the French government by Allied troops with four other paintings, 1945.

1945 -

French Government, Garde-Meuble National

1950 - 1999

Musée du Louvre (Paris, France), restituted to Christiane Gentili di Giuseppe, Emmanuelle Maupas, Daniel Salem, and Lionel Salem, 1999.

1999 - 2000

Christiane (Castel) Gentili di Giuseppe

1999 - 2000

and Emmanuelle (Salem) Maupas

1999 - 2000

and Daniel Salem

1999 - 2000

and Lionel Salem [sold, Christie's, New York, January 27, 2000, lot 82, to the J. Paul Getty Museum.]

Sedelmeyer Gallery 1913 (1913) (no. 63, illus.)
  • Sedelmeyer Gallery, (Paris), 1913
Présentation des Oeuvres Récupérées après la Seconde Guerre Mondiale (April 9 to May 5, 1997) (no. 63, illus.)
  • Musée du Louvre, (Paris), April 9 to May 5, 1997
Art about Art. Painting and Sculpture in Competition (February 1 to August 25, 2002) (no. 63, illus.)
  • Haus der Kunst (Munich), February 1 to May 5, 2002
  • Wallraf-Richartz-Museum - Fondation Corboud, (Cologne), May 24 to August 25, 2002
For Your Approval: Oil Sketches by Tiepolo (May 3 to September 4, 2005) (S206)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), May 3 to September 4, 2005
Related Media
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    Audio: The Studio of Apelles