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Female Satyr Holding a Ewer

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
M.1980.06.1.P
© Norton Simon Art Foundation

On view

These two oval paintings were once installed above doorways in the palace of the prolific art collector Count Luigi Avogadro in Brescia, Italy. An unusual mix of objects, including musical instruments, ewers and lush fabric, surrounds satyrs and cherubs reclining in a rural landscape. Rather than telling stories, the paintings are vibrant, aesthetically pleasing scenes that were meant to amuse and intrigue. When viewed up close, specific details melt into thick, fluid brushstrokes, indicating that the images were designed to be seen from a distance. Like many of Giovanni Battista Tiepolo’s works, these overdoor decorations were experienced in the context of an elaborate architectural space, which contributed to an all-encompassing sense of opulence.

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