Back

Apollo receiving Homage from the Muses
(Giambattista Tiepolo)

Description

In this classically constructed and highly colored Apollo Receiving Homage from the Muses, Tiepolo presents the god as patron to the arts, the object of veneration by the Muses. Wearing a laurel crown (a symbol of artistic achievement) and holding his particular attribute, the lyre, he is seated on the rocky promontory of Mount Parnassus. Behind him, unseen, runs a stream from the Castalian spring, the source of inspiration and learning, and from which man was advised to drink deep. Below him gather the goddesses of poetic inspiration and the creative arts who pay him homage by demonstrating their own attributes. In the foreground a prominent female figure — perhaps Venus, goddess of Love — restrains an energetic cupid who frolics with a flaming torch.

It is not known for whom Apollo Receiving Homage from the Muses was painted but the particular significance its subject would have had for the collector who commissioned it is obvious. Probably, as Keith Christiansen (Curator, European Paintings, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City) has observed, it is a highly finished modello for an unknown mural or fresco painting, a possibility further supported by the original shaped top of the composition — apparent even to the naked eye — which was subsequently over painted to make the sketch a more conventional horizontal shape.

Morassi was the first to publish the painting (op. cit), dating it to circa 1740-45 and placing it slightly earlier than the celebrated Rinaldo and Armida suite in the Art Institute of Chicago. He compared it stylistically to The Empire of Flora in San Francisco, a painting commissioned by the antiquarian Francesco Algarotti in 1743. Pallucchini (op. cit.) proposed a dating closer to 1745, and recently Gemain and Pedrocco suggested that the Crane modello might have been one of a small group of mythological pictures made by Tiepolo around 1743-44, when his imagination had been fired by Algarotti’s fashionable aesthetic theories. Keith Christiansen, the first Tiepolo scholar to have examined the painting at first-hand in many years, believes that circa 1740 is the outside date for the Crane painting, and entertains the possibility that it may even slightly predate this period.

Measurements
25 1/2 x 37 ins. 64.8 x 94 cm.
Type
Oil on canvas
Provenance

Marquise de Salza and Count von Berchtold, Vienna; Lilienfeld Collection, New York;
C.F. Dieterich, New York, their sale, Anderson Galleries, New York, April 8-9, 1920;
Thomas F. Casey, New York, 1936 with Ferargil, New York; Louise Crane Collection, New York, purchased from the above on June 14 1939, until 1999.

Literature

A. Morassi, A Complete Catalogue of the Paintings by G.B. Tiepolo, 1962, p. 35, fig. 235; A. Palluchini, L’opera completa di Giambattista Tiepolo, 1968, p. 111, no. 168, illus. p. 110; A. Pallucchini & J. le Foll, Tout l’oeuvre peint de Tiepolo, Paris, 1990, p. 112, no. 173, illus. p. 111; M. Gemin & F. Pedrocco, Giambattista Tiepolo, 1993, p. 366, no. 305, illust.

Exhibited

Birmingham, Birmingham Museum of Art and Springfield, Springfield Museum of Art, The Tiepolos: Painter to Princes and Prelates, Jan. 8-May 7, 1978, no. 13.

Where is It?
Sold at Christies
Historical Period
Rococo - 1720-1780
Subject
Mythological
School
Italian - Venetian
Price band
Sold or not available