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

The Rape of Europa

c. 1725
Oil on canvas, 99 x 134 cm
Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice

Giambattista Tiepolo very early withdrew from the lessons he was receiving from Gregorio Lazzarini, an academic of mediocre talents, and developed rather towards the vigorous chiaroscuro of Federico Bencovich and Piazzetta, renderíng their solutions still more refined and precious by using colours which have an absolutely unmistakable, densely fused luminous vibration to them. At the end of this fundamental experience come the canvas of The Rape of Europa in which the mythological subject is depicted in an airy, disenchanted transcription which at times becomes almost caricature. The severity of the pattern of chiaroscuro loses intensity in favour of refinement of chromatic notes in an interpretation of space open and articulated in depth which is as far from Bencovich and Piazzetta as it is consonant with the taste of Sebastiano Ricci. And the very lively spacial and luministic framework in which the figures take their places with such easy confidence offers a foretaste of the supreme gifts of Tiepolo as an 'organizer' of paintings.