Three magicians burning a snake

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo
Venice 1696 - Madrid 1770
Three magicians burning a snake
Etching

The sacrifice of the snake seems to evoke a rite of purification.


Etching, from the series Scherzi di Fantasia. De Vesme 14. Succi, 1983, no. 468.
Fine, brilliant impression of the first state before the number, showing remains of ink along the platemark as in pristine impressions. With margins, in fine condition.
To the platemark 221 x 178 mm, the sheet 320 x 253 mm.

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