St. Joseph holding the infant Christ

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo
Venice 1696 - Madrid 1770
St. Joseph holding the infant Christ
96 x 87 mm; the sheet 121 x 106 mm

De Vesme, 1905, n. 2, p. 382 I/II

Signed in the plate BT F in reverse lower right

unidentified collector mark star on the verso (Lugt.2883 a)
and near another one unknown to Lugt.

A very fine, clear impression before the number 24 at top right; showing remains of ink along the platemark as in pristine impressions. With good margins, minor traces of old mounts on the verso, generally in fine condition. As noted by Diane Russel in the catalogue of the Rosenwald collection, the images of St. Joseph with the Child appear following the importance given by the post-Tridentine Church to the figure of the saint. The Rosenwald example of our print (National Gallery of Art, Rosenwald Collection, B-19.894) is like ours a first state but retouched in pen in several places. Another fine impression is kept at the British Museum, registration number 1907,0515.84.165. 

Diane Russel, Rare etchings by Giovanni Battista and Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo, National Gallery of Washington,1972, no. 40, p. 82 I/II
Rizzi, 1970, no. 27 I/II; Rizzi, 1971, no. 28 I/II
David Tunick, Inc. Italian Prints of the Eighteenth Century, Catalogue no. 11, 1981, see Appendix, no. R28 I/III
Succi, Il Segno e l’Enigma, 1985, no. 70 I/III

Born into a wealthy family in Venice, Giambattista Tiepolo was recognized by contemporaries throughout Europe as the greatest painter of large-scale decorative frescoes in the 1700ies. He was admired for having brought fresco painting to new heights of technical virtuosity, illumination, and dramatic effect. In 1710 Tiepolo became a pupil of Gregorio Lazzarini, a successful painter with an eclectic style. He was, though, at least equally strongly influenced by his study of the works of other contemporary artists such as Sebastiano Ricci and Piazzetta and those of his Venetian predecessors, especially Tintoretto and Veronese. In 1719 he joined the Venetian guild of painters and soon turned away from the darker hues of the Baroque opting for sunny colourful tableaux instead. His first success testified to his new style: a series of frescoes on biblical scenes for the episcopal palace in Udine in 1726. Tiepolo's commissions came from the old established families of Italy, religious orders, and the royal houses of Spain, Germany, Sweden, and Russia. Tiepolo was equally prized as a draftsman: his powers of invention were boundless and his facility without equal. His imaginative prints enjoyed wide fame and their dreamlike and sometimes troubling imagery of sorcerers and punchinellos may have influenced Goya.

Other works of the master