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Georg Anton Urlaub

1713 Thüngersheim – 1759 Würzburg

Georg Anton Urlaub was born into a family of painters, active since the seventeenth century in Franconia. He was trained first by his father Georg Sebastian Urlaub (1685–1763), after which he enjoyed the protection of one of the most powerful and influential art patrons of his time, the prince-bishop Friedrich Karl von Schönborn, who sent him for further studies to the academy in Vienna in 1737. In the fall of 1741 Urlaub returned to Würzburg, where he undertook the painted decorations for the prince-bishop’s residence. A year later he was ­appointed court painter. Apparently the situation in Würzburg was ultimately too restrictive for the young artist, however, and in 1744 he hastily, and much to the disapproval of his mentor, left for Bologna, where he studied between 1745 and 1747 at the Accademia Clementina. In 1749 we find the artist in ­Venice, where he met Giovanni Battista Tiepolo and made ­copies after the latter’s works. Around 1750–51 Urlaub ­returned to Würzburg, possibly accompanied by Tiepolo and his sons, who were commissioned by the prince-bishop Karl Philipp von Greiffenklau to design the fresco decorations in his residence. Close connections to the Tiepolo family are ­documented for this period since Urlaub had free access to their studio and was allowed to see the preparatory studies and plans for this monumental project.