The Apotheosis of the Spanish Monarchy

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo Italian

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 643

This is one of two oil sketches at The Met that Tiepolo made in preparation for a painted ceiling in Madrid’s royal palace. Typical of Tiepolo’s practice, the final version incorporates elements of both preliminary sketches while also introducing new ideas. Here, Apollo lithely arrives on a bank of clouds while holding a royal scepter and cradling his lyre, the symbol of his domains of music and art. Mercury, messenger of the gods, presents a crown to the enthroned allegorical figure of Spain. Jupiter commands the scene, while Fame blows a trumpet. At lower left, loosely sketched allegories represent continents meant to be seen as subservient.

The Apotheosis of the Spanish Monarchy, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (Italian, Venice 1696–1770 Madrid), Oil on canvas

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