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

Apollo and the Continents (America, right-hand side)

Stairwell of the Residenz, Würzburg

The Europeans of Tiepolo's day imagined the inhabitants of the continent of America to be barely civilized, a belief symbolized in his depiction of human beings who look to nature for sustenance and who eat their meals in the open air. It was assumed that cannibalism was practiced in this part of the world, and the heads which lie around in the foreground allude to this. As a capriccio, Tiepolo has placed in the foreground the portrayal of a European, who hides behind a stone slab and secretly observes the continent.

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