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Female Satyr Holding a Ewer, c. 1730

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo
Italian, 1696-1770
Oil on canvas
23-1/4 x 37-1/2 in. (59 x 95.3 cm)
Norton Simon Art Foundation
© Norton Simon Art Foundation

Not on View

Tiepolo’s luminous paintings earned him great fame for his fantasia, or imagination. These enigmatic oval paintings were likely part of a set of three paintings recorded as overdoors in the Palazzo Avogadro in Brescia during the mid-eighteenth century. The handling of paint is strikingly loose in these works; it was often the case that paintings placed at a considerable height were broader in technique than one would expect in a small gallery picture on account of their location. It is not easy to construct a logical narrative in which satyrs, putti, platters, a rattle, a tambourine, an empty quiver, a vase and a ewer all feature. Although scholars have proposed several interpretations for the meaning of these panels, it is best to classify them as deliberately mysterious comic pastorals.

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