Giovanni Battista Tiepolo
The Angel of Fame
Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Italian, The Angel of Fame, ca. 1750, Fresco on plaster; 198.1 x 330.8 cm (78 x 130 3/16 inches), Museum Appropriation Fund 32.246
Tiepolo’s renown in 18th-century Venice led to numerous decorative commissions, including one for the wealthy Labia family whose palace fronted the Canareggio canal. The great ballroom featured an elaborate depiction of the story of Antony and Cleopatra, while imaginative illusionistic ceiling frescoes such as The Angel of Fame decorated numerous smaller rooms. Tiepolo’s mastery of fresco technique, in which pigment is applied to wet plaster, is evident in the fresh and exuberant handling of the monumental figure. Dramatically foreshortened, the angel appears to soar heavenward, supported by cherubs entwined within the lavish drapery folds. In its original site, the painting gave the effect of unrestrained movement in a seemingly limitless space.