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Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo

(1727–1804, Venice)

The Apparition of the Virgin to St. Simon Stock. Etching and engraving. 61 x 39.7 cm. De Vesme 57; Rizzi (1971) 98 I (of II); Succi 34 I (of II). Watermark: Letters AS (similar to Bromberg, Canaletto, no. 43).

This etching reproduces a painting by the artist’s father, Giovanni Battista, in the Scuola dei Carmini in Venice, which dates to between 1740 and 1749. It is one of the unchallenged masterpieces of Giambattista’s mature style. The scarcely legible date on the epitaph in the foreground is that of the completion of the painting which graces the centre of the ceiling of the upper hall of the Scuola. Giandomenico’s etching occupies a similarly outstanding position in his graphic œuvre, whilst also marking an artistic high point in Venetian printmaking of the entire settecento. Demonstrating great sensitivity and virtuosity, the artist has succeeded in translating the incomparable Tiepolo-esque light and the luminous, warm colours of Giambattista’s palette into subtly graduated shades of black and white. Giandomenico’s picturesque etching technique is imbued with great spirituality and possesses the unmistakable Venetian lightness of touch. His repertoire of varied and vibrant hatching patterns matches the immense tonal refinement of the original and creates a dramatic contrast between the gloomy, earthly sphere of Mount Carmel, where the kneeling Simon Stock humbly awaits the handing over of the Scapular, and the celestial light of the boundless heavens, from which the Madonna descends with an angelic host arrayed in Baroque confusion.

A superb, contrasting impression with thread margins around the platemark. Before the number. Minor ageing, otherwise in very good condition.

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