The Miracle of the Holy House of Loreto

Object Details


The Miracle of the Holy House of Loreto


Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (Italian, 1696 - 1770)




Italy (Place created)




Oil on canvas


122.9 x 77.8 cm (48 3/8 x 30 5/8 in.)

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Giambattista Tiepolo made this final preparatory study for a large illusionistic fresco that covered the ceiling of the Scalzi church in Venice. The fresco was destroyed by bombing in World War I. According to a fifteenth-century legend, when the Virgin Mary's house in Nazareth came under threat by invading Saracen armies, it was miraculously transported in 1291 from the Holy Land to Loreto, a small town on Italy's Adriatic coast.

Using an oval shape, Tiepolo painted the scene in three parts, depicting the figures in the lowest register in large scale and those near the top much smaller in size. This technique, called di sotto in sù (from below upward) gives the viewer the illusion that the scene is an extension of his space: the ceiling of the church opens up to reveal the events of the miracle. In the upper register, painted in golden hues, God the Father and the dove of the Holy Spirit preside amidst a chorus of music-making angels. The central area of the canvas features the Virgin and Child and the Holy House borne aloft by angels. Saint Joseph, with his arms raised overhead, accompanies them. On the right, three trumpeting angels announce the event. In the lowest register, closest to the viewer's space, a mass of dark figures personifying evil recoil and fall away from the Holy House. Other figures, some wearing turbans and carrying weapons symbolizing the invading Saracens, watch from the periphery.


Cecilia Guardi, probably by inheritance from her husband, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo.

- 1884

Edward Cheyney, died 1884 (London, England; Badger Hall, Shropshire, England), upon his death, held in trust by the estate.

1884 - 1885

Estate of Edward Cheyney, died 1884 [sold, Cheyney sale, Christie's, London, April 29, 1885, lot 160, to Archibald Philip Primrose.]

1885 - 1929

Archibald Philip Primrose, fifth earl of Rosebery, Scottish, 1847 - 1929 (Dalmeny House, Lothian, Scotland), by inheritance to Albert Edward Harry Mayer Archibald Primrose, 1929.

1929 - 1974

Albert Edward Harry Mayer Archibald Primrose, sixth earl of Rosebery, 1882 - 1974 (Dalmeny House, Lothian, Scotland; Mentmore, Bucks., England), by inheritance to Eva Isabel Marian Strutt, 1974.


Eva Isabel Marian Strutt, countess of Rosebery, 1892 - 1987 (Dalmeny House, Lothian, Scotland) [sold, Rosebery sale, Sotheby's, London, December 11, 1974, lot 15, to British Rail Pension Trustee Company, Ltd.]

1974 - 1994

British Rail Pension Trustee Company, Ltd. (London, England), sold through Hazlitt, Gooden and Fox Ltd. (London, England) to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1994.

Mostra del Tiepolo (1951) (51)
  • Unknown, 1951
Eighteenth Century Venice (January 3 to March 14, 1951) (120)
  • Whitechapel Art Gallery, (London), January 3 to March 14, 1951
European Masters of the Eighteenth Century (1954 to 1955) (504)
  • Royal Academy of Arts (London), 1954 to 1955
Thirty-Five Paintings from the Collection of the British Rail Pension Fund (November 8 to December 14, 1984) (31)
  • Thomas Agnew & Sons, Ltd., (London), November 8 to December 14, 1984
Giambattista Tiepolo: Master of the Oil Sketch (September 18 to December 12, 1993) (29)
  • Kimbell Art Museum, (Fort Worth), September 18 to December 12, 1993
Giambattista Tiepolo, 1696 - 1770 (September 5, 1996 to April 27, 1997) (48b)
  • Museo del Settecento Veneziano di Ca' Rezzonico, (Venice), September 5 to December 8, 1996
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art, (New York), January 20 to April 27, 1997
For Your Approval: Oil Sketches by Tiepolo (May 3 to September 4, 2005) (8)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), May 3 to September 4, 2005
Venice in the Age of Canaletto (October 8, 2009 to May 9, 2010) (14)
  • The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, (Sarasota), October 8, 2009 to January 10, 2010
  • Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, (Memphis), February 13 to May 9, 2010

Watson, Francis J. B., ed. Eighteenth Century Venice, exh. cat. (London: Whitechapel Art Gallery, 1951) p. 34, no. 120.

Lorenzetti, Giulio, ed. Mostra del Tiepolo. Catalogo ufficiale, exh. cat. (Venice: Alfieri, 1951) pp. 65, 67, no. 51.

Watson, Francis J. B. "Reflections on the Tiepolo Exhibition." Burlington Magazine 94 (February 1952) p. 44.

European Masters of the Eighteenth Century, exh. cat. (London: Royal Academy of Arts, 1954) p. 142, no. 504.

Mras, George P. "Some Drawings by G.B. Tiepolo." Record of the Art Museum, Princeton University 15, no. 2 (1956) pp. 41, 44, fig. 6.

Pallucchini, Rodolfo. La pittura veneziana del Settecento (Venice and Rome: Istituto per la Collaborazione Culturale, 1960) p. 88.

Wescher, Paul. La Prima Idea. Die Entwicklung der Ölskizze von Tintoretto bis Picasso (Munich: Bruckmann, 1960) p. 49.

Crivellato, Valentino. Tiepolo (Bergamo: Istituto Italiano d'Arti Grafiche, 1960) p. 43.

Crivellato, Valentino. Tiepolo (New York: Norton, 1962) p. 53.

Morassi, Antonio. A Complete Catalogue of the Paintings of G. B. Tiepolo (London: Phaidon, 1962) pp. 19, 54, 57, fig. 88.

Watson, Francis. "Book Reviews: G.B. Tiepolo: Pioneer of Modernism." Apollo 77 (March 1963) p. 244.

Rossacher, Kurt. Visionen des Barock: Entwürfe aus der Sammlung Kurt Rossacher, exh. cat. (Darmstadt: Hessisches Landesmuseum, 1965) p. 166.

Image and Imagination: Oil Sketches of the Baroque. Collection Kurt Rossacher, exh. cat. (Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1968) p. 112, under no. 48.

Knox, George. "G.B. Tiepolo and the Ceiling of the Scalzi." Burlington Magazine 110 (July 1968) p. 397.

Pallucchini, Anna. L'opera completa di Giambattista Tiepolo (Milan: Rizzoli, 1968) pp. 108-9, no. 151a1, fig. 151a1.

Zampetti, Pietro, ed. Dal Ricci al Tiepolo: I pittori di figura del Settecento a Venezia, exh. cat. (Venice, Palazzo Ducale, 1969) p. 378, under no. 175.

Rizzi, Aldo, ed. Mostra del Tiepolo: Dipinti, exh. cat. (Udine: Villa Manin di Passariano, 1971) p. 92, under no. 45.

"Sotheby's Sales in December." Burlington Magazine 117 (February 1975) p. i.

Barcham, William. "Giambattista Tiepolo's Ceiling for S. Maria di Nazareth in Venice: Legend, Traditions, and Devotions." Art Bulletin 61 (September 1979) pp. 433, 438, fig. 14.

Thirty-Five Paintings from the Collection of the British Rail Pension Fund, exh. cat. (London: Thomas Agnew & Sons, 1984) p. 39, no. 31, ill.

Levey, Michael. Giambattista Tiepolo: His Life and Art (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1986) p. 114, fig. 108.

Pallucchini, Anna, and Joséphine Le Foll. Tout l'oeuvre peint de Tiepolo (Paris: Flammarion, 1990) p. 109, no. 156a1, fig. 156a1.

Brunel, Georges. Tiepolo (Paris: Fayard, 1991) pp. 172-73.

Scirè Nepi, Giovanna. Treasures of Venetian Painting: The Gallerie dell'Accademia (London: Thames and Hudson, 1991) p. 247.

Barcham, William. Giambattista Tiepolo (New York: Abrams, 1992) p. 88, no. 22, fig. 22.

Brown, Beverly Louise. Giambattista Tiepolo: Master of the Oil Sketch, exh. cat. (Fort Worth: Kimbell Art Museum, 1993) pp. 33, 228-31, no. 29, fig. 29.

Gemin, Massimo, and Filippo Pedrocco. Giambattista Tiepolo: I dipinti. Opera completa (Venice: Arsenale, 1993) pp. 379-81, no. 346b, fig. 346b.

Alpers, Svetlana, and Michael Baxandall. Tiepolo and the Pictorial Intelligence (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1994) pp. 64, 151, fig. 76.

Fredericksen, Burton B., et al. Masterpieces of Painting in the J. Paul Getty Museum. 3rd ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1995) unpaginated, no. 15, ill., entry by Perrin Stein.

Christiansen, Keith, ed. Giambattista Tiepolo, 1696-1770, exh. cat. (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1996) pp. 8, 10, 22, 147, 193-94, 288, 295-301, 316, no. 48b, fig. 48b.

Pavanello, Giuseppe. Canova collezionista di Tiepolo (Monfalcone: Edizioni della Laguna, 1996) pp. 16, 21, ill.

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997) p. 125, ill.

Walsh, John, and Deborah Gribbon. The J. Paul Getty Museum and Its Collections: A Museum for the New Century (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997) pp. 109, 126, ill.

Pedrocco, Filippo. Giambattista Tiepolo (Milan: Rizzoli, 2002) pp. 267-69, no. 186/1.b, fig. 186/1.b.

Pedrocco, Filippo. Tiepolo: The Complete Paintings (New York: Rizzoli, 2002) pp. 267-69, no. 186/1.b, fig. 186/1.b.

Seydl, Jon. Giambattista Tiepolo: Fifteen Oil Sketches, exh. cat. (Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2005) pp. 53-57, no. 8, ill.

Libby, Alexandra, and Stanton Thomas. Venice in the Age of Canaletto, exh. cat. (Sarasota: The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art; Memphis: Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, 2009) pp. 92-95, no. 14, ill., entry by Alexandra Libby.

Barcham, William. "Giambattista Tiepolo e Gerolamo Mengozzi Colonna. L'armonia pittorica a due penelli e la mistica carmelitana." In La chiesa di Santa Maria di Nazareth... Giacomo Bettini and Martina Franck, eds. (Venice: Marcianum Press, 2014) pp. 203-4, fig. 77.

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