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Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo

Venice 1727 - 1804 Venice

Head of a Woman, seen from di sotto in su

Red and white chalk on grey-blue paper.

8 ¼ x 9 ½ inches (210 x 242 mm.)


This type of chalk drawing was practiced by both Giandomenico and his father Gianbattista as working drawings for frescoes and paintings, contrary to the pen and wash drawings which were usually used for independent drawings. The medium of the chalk allowed the artist to work more precisely with the effect of light. 

Giandomenico was a particularly precocious artist beginning to draw these types of chalk drawings, under the influence of his father at the age of fourteen. His first chalk drawings are usually copied after details of his father’s frescoes, particularly those in Würzburg but later he drew numerous independent sheets, very much in the manner of his father.[i]

I am grateful to Bernard Aikema for confirming the attribution.



A blindfolded Putto standing on a Cloud with other Putti and an Eagle


Signed ‘[Dom] Tiepolo f’ and numbered ‘38’(?).

Pen and brown ink, brown wash.

7 1/8 x 9 ¼ inches (181 x 236 mm.).



Giovanni Domenico Bossi, by descent to

Maria Theresa Karoline Bossi, associated price code ‘X 48 no.3600’ (verso).

Karl Christian Friedrich Beyerlen; H.G. Gutekunst, Stuttgart, 27-8 March 1882.

With M. Komor (L.1882a).

The Goldman Collection, New York.

This sheet is from a series of drawings depicting putti that includes three compositions in the Museum of Stuttgart, three in the Louvre and a number from the Earl of Beauchamp collection sold in 1964.[i]Many of the putti are blindfolded, flouting on clouds and some holding bows and arrows or riding on chariots. The drawings are of similar size and technique.

James Byam Shaw connects this series with the frescoes from the Stanza dell’ Orlando furiosoin the Villa Valmarana, Italy, where Domenico Tiepolo worked with his father, Giovanni Battista, in 1757. In one of the frescoes, a cupid is depicted in a chariot, crossing the skies, blindfolded, with lantern and darts.[ii]Byam Shaw speculates that it was at Villa Valmarana that the inspiration for the series of drawings of putti came about.[iii]Tiepolo repeats this image in the ceiling painting, Triumph of Cupids, now in the Musée Ephrussi-de Rothschild at Cap Ferrat, France.[iv]

Like all drawings from the Bossi collection, this sheet bears specific numbering on the verso. The first, a price code in Kreutzers, abbreviated with Xs, is followed by the number in the collection. The price, 48 Kreutzer, makes this drawing one of the most expensive of that collection. 

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