TIEPOLO, Giovanni Battista
(b. 1696, Venezia, d. 1770, Madrid)
The Marriage of the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa to Beatrice of Burgundy1751
Fresco, 400 x 500 cm
Imperial Hall of the Residenz, Würzburg
The Emperor Frederick Barbarossa and his wife Beatrice kneel before Gebhard, Bishop of Würzburg. On the right of the picture, the royal household and dignitaries of empire are gathered, while the father of the bride, Count Raynald of Burgundy, kneels on the steps to the left of the altar, accompanied by two pageboys. The court jester, seen from behind, occupies a prominent position in the foreground at the foot of the steps to the altar, an example of Tiepolo's penchant for introducing witty and frivolous ideas to the agreed pictorial subject matter. The steps to the altar lead us into the picture and, along with the colossal background architecture, create great spatial depth. The musicians on the balcony in the background are a favourite motif of Tiepolo, which he uses to help make the historical subject matter topical.