TIEPOLO, Giovanni Battista
(b. 1696, Venezia, d. 1770, Madrid)

The Meeting of Anthony and Cleopatra

1746-47
Fresco, 650 x 300 cm
Palazzo Labia, Venice

The arrival of Anthony and his entourage is staged as an illusionistic vista within a feigned architectural framework. While the sails of the Roman fleet can still be glimpsed in the background, the magnificently costumed figures move off towards Cleopatra's palace in the manner of a triumphal procession. In the foreground, Anthony and Cleopatra lead the way, already portrayed as a couple. Tiepolo ironically plays around with different levels of reality by having Anthony point to the entrance of the palace, which is at the same time the room in which the viewer stands, and to which the steps in the picture also seem to lead down.