The Apotheosis of the Spanish Monarchy

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo Italian

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 643

From 1762 until his death, Tiepolo worked in Spain for Charles III and decorated several rooms in Madrid’s royal palace. This is one of two complex sketches in The Met collection for a small chamber next to the throne room. Each shows a female personification of Spain accompanied by lions representing the province of Leon; an old woman beside a castle, standing for the province of Castile; and Hercules, the traditional protector of Spain. He is shown with a column symbolizing Gibraltar, a strategic site in struggles for control of the Mediterranean Sea. Tiepolo set Spain in a global context by including allegorical figures of Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe.

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

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