Exhibition Archive

All Spirit and Fire, Oil Sketches by Tiepolo

23 February to 29 May 2007


detail from a painting by Tiepolo

The Venetian painter Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696-1770) was one of the greatest and most imaginative artists of 18th century Europe. He is best known for his monumental frescoes and altarpieces. Yet some of Tiepolos finest work can be found in the small, rapidly executed oil sketches which he made in association with these grand compositions. They exemplify the qualities of ‘all spirit and fire’ which contemporaries saw as characteristic of Tiepolo’s work. This exhibition was focused around the important group of oil sketches and drawings by Tiepolo belonging to the Courtauld and other British collections, spanning his entire working life. The unusual intimacy of these confident and fluid works of art reveal the vigorous imagination of a great artist at work.

This exhibition was generously supported by the Friends of the Courtauld Institute of Art .