The Chariot of Aurora

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo Italian

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 643

This oil sketch was probably presented as a proposal by Tiepolo for the decoration of a ceiling in the royal palace in Madrid. Tiepolo was summoned to Spain in 1762 to decorate the throne room, but a ceiling representing Aurora was painted in the queen’s bedroom in 1763 by Tiepolo’s German rival, Anton Raphael Mengs. Here, Aurora, goddess of dawn, crosses the sky in her chariot, accompanied by the Hours and heralded by Apollo; the figure of Time is on the right. Allegories of abundance appear in the form of Ceres, who holds a sheaf of wheat, and Bacchus, who wears a crown of leaves.

The Chariot of Aurora, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (Italian, Venice 1696–1770 Madrid), Oil on canvas

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