Marc Antony’s galleon has arrived in Egypt and, overcome by Queen Cleopatra’s beauty, the Roman general bows to kiss her hand. It is the beginning of his undoing. Having betrayed Rome, he is defeated and kills himself; Cleopatra then also commits suicide. Black attendants and a turbaned figure signify foreign lands, while Cleopatra has been given European features and dress. Her costume is inspired by both theater practice and seventeenth-century fashion. This is an oil sketch, or modello, for a huge canvas in the former Yusupov country palace at Arkhangelskoye, near Moscow.
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Credit Line:Bequest of Mrs. Charles Wrightsman in honor of Hélène David-Weill, 2019
The basic authority for the story of Antony and Cleopatra is the first-century Greek biographer Plutarch, yet so many other writers have retold and elaborated the tale that it is impossible to identify the literary sources that Tiepolo used when he painted this dazzling modello, or preparatory oil sketch. The story essentially concerns Cleopatra VII (68–30 B.C.), the last of the Ptolemaic dynasty to rule Egypt. She used her beauty and charm to obtain military alliances, first with Julius Caesar (100–44 B.C.), by whom she had a son, Caesarion, and then with Marc Antony (ca. 82–30 B.C.), by whom she had three more children. Antony ruled the eastern half of the Roman Empire, and, during the more than ten years that he spent with Cleopatra, he was at war with Octavian, ruler of the western half. Antony was finally defeated and took his own life. Cleopatra then sought to charm Octavian but was rejected and committed suicide rather than endure the humiliation of being the prize of his triumphal entrance into Rome.
Historically, the couple met a number of times at ports and harbors. The encounter depicted here is usually assumed to be their first meeting, in 41 B.C., at Tarsus in Cilicia (southern Turkey), but in fact it was Cleopatra, not Antony, who arrived there by sea. More likely the picture represents Antony’s return to Alexandria in 34 B.C., following his campaigns in western Asia, when he presented Cleopatra with booty and the captive king of Armenia, Artavasdes, the bearded figure in the painting to the left of Antony, wearing a gold robe and a white turban (see Igor Grabar, "The Tiepolos at Arkhangelskoye and Tiepolo's Self-Portrait," Iskusstvo 10 [March–April 1947], pp. 63–81).
The Met's modello is one of several pictures that Tiepolo painted during the 1740s on the theme of Antony and Cleopatra: these include a small canvas of the Banquet of Cleopatra in the Musée Cognac-Jay, Paris, of 1743/44; a much larger canvas based on the same design in the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, of about the same date; a pair of huge canvases of the Meeting and the Banquet in the former Yousoupoff country estate at Arkhangelskoye, near Moscow; the celebrated frescoes on the walls of the central hall of the Palazzo Labia, Venice, probably painted in 1746/47; and two pairs of oil sketches: The Met's canvas and the Banquet of Cleopatra in the National Gallery, London, and a similar set with vertical compositions in the National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, and the University Museum, Stockholm.
The Edinburgh and Stockholm modelli, with their vertical compositions, are unquestionably studies for the frescoes in the Palazzo Labia. The Met and London modelli have also been linked to the Labia frescoes (Levey1963, Fahy 1971, Brown 1993), but as early as 1951 Lorenzetti realized that they should instead be associated with the Arkhangelskoye paintings, and this view has been confirmed in most of the later literature (Watson 1960, Morassi 1962, Pallucchini 1968, Knox 1974, Loire and Los Llanos 1998, Anderson 2003, Mariuz 2004).
The original location of the Arkhangelskoye paintings is not known. They were purchased in 1800 by Prince Nicolai Yousoupoff (1750–1831) for his palace in Saint Petersburg and were moved subsequently to Arkhangelskoye. Knox (1974) suggested that they may have been commissioned by Angelo della Vecchia, a lawyer in Vicenza who owned the Met and Stockholm modelli by 1751, but Loire and Los Llanos’s later proposal (1998) that they may have been commissioned by Carlo Cordellina (1703–1794), a friend of Della Vecchia, is also a possibility. Tiepolo was working on frescoes in the Villa Cordellina at Montecchio Maggiore, near Vicenza,i in October 1743, and in motif and mode of execution, the New York and London modelli are comparable to the fluid oil sketches that he made for that project. The striking similarity between Cleopatra in The Met's picture, with her black pages, and the bride in Tiepolo’s modello (Nationalmuseum, Stockholm) for the Continence of Scipio in the Villa Cordellina makes it clear that The Met's painting was conceived at about the same time as the frescoes, that is, in about 1742 or 1743 at the latest (see Mariuz 2004). The date 1747 appears on the Arkhangelskoye Meeting, but it is probable that the two huge paintings were begun several years earlier and the date marks their completion or delivery.
As a subject, the Meeting of Antony and Cleopatra is unusual. It does not appear to have been previously depicted in the visual arts; the customary pendant to the Banquet of Cleopatra was the scene of her suicide. No preliminary pen-and-ink sketches for the Meeting, such as Tiepolo’s exploratory compositional drawings for the Banquet, are known. Two large studies for the central figures are relatively finished drawings: one in the Metropolitan Museum (37.165.10) shows Antony kissing Cleopatra’s hand with the truncated pyramid seen in The Met's modello lightly indicated behind them, and the other, almost identical drawing in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, shows Cleopatra in profile precisely as she appears in The Met's modello. A related drawing in the Museo Horne, Florence, may be an early idea for a pendant to the Banquet, perhaps depicting Artavasdes surrendering to Antony. Its style is consistent with the Met and Washington sketches, and both the stern of the galley, with its fluttering canopy and lantern, and the two crouching figures in the lower-right corner reappear in The Met's painting. Two drawings of a Roman soldier and a lady (Victoria and Albert Museum, London) show the evolution of Tiepolo’s ideas from The Met's modello to the canvas at Arkhangelskoye.
During the first week of July, 1751, Charles Nicolas Cochin the Younger saw the New York and London modelli at Angelo della Vecchia’s palazzo (now the Palazzo Romanelli) in Vicenza and wrote that they were especially well composed and full of life. Almost exactly to the day ten years later, two other Frenchmen took notice of the modelli: the young Fragonard (1732–1806), then traveling in Italy with the Abbé de Saint Non (1727–1791), copied the Meeting in a red-chalk drawing that he inscribed "Tiepolo. Palazzo Vecchia. Vicence" (Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena); Saint Non wrote in his diary that the "prodigiously rich" lawyer had collected some delightful paintings, including "two lively sketches, one of the Meeting of Antony and Cleopatra, the other of the feast that celebrated queen gave for the Roman general. Compositions filled with fire and genius."
Gretchen Wold 2014
Angelo della Vecchia, Palazzo Vecchia, Vicenza (by 1751–at least 1761); ?Huges Fourau, Paris (until 1869; his sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, March 1–2, 1869, no. 91, as "Le débarquement de Cléopâtre," 67 x 48 cm); Rt. Hon. George Augustus Frederick Cavendish Bentinck, London and Brownsea Island (until d. 1891; his estate sale, Christie's, London, July 11, 1891, no. 600, as "Cleopatra Receiving Antony," for £73.10.0 to Colnaghi); [Colnaghi, London, from 1891]; baronne Nathaniel (Charlotte) de Rothschild, Paris; her grandson, baron Henri de Rothschild, Paris (until d. 1947); his son, baron Philippe de Rothschild, Paris (1947–at least 1968); [E. V. Thaw, New York, until 1969; sold to Wrightsman]; Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wrightsman, New York (1969–his d. 1986; cat., 1973, no. 24); Mrs. Charles Wrightsman, New York (1986–d. 2019; cat., 2005, no. 25)
Paris. Petit Palais. "Exposition de l'art italien de Cimabue à Tiepolo," 1935, no. 445 (as "Les Adieux d'Antoine à Cléopatre," lent by baron Henri de Rothschild, Paris).
Venice. Palazzo d'Italia ai Giardini and Ca' Rezzonico (Museo del Settecento Veneziano). "Mostra del Tiepolo," June 3–October 7, 1951, no. 66 (as "L'incontro di Antonio con Cleopatra," lent by a private collection, Paris).
Paris. Galerie Cailleux. "Tiepolo et Guardi," November 1952, no. 30 (lent by a private collection).
Bordeaux. Galerie des Beaux-Arts. "De Tiepolo a Goya," May 7–July 31, 1956, no. 54 (as "Les adieux d'Antoine à Cléopatre," lent by baron Philippe de Rothschild, Paris).
Paris. L'Œil galerie d'art. "Eighteenth Century Venetian Paintings and Drawings," March–April 1967, no. 21.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Oil Sketches by 18th Century Italian Artists from New York Collections," January 30–March 21, 1971, no. 32 (lent by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wrightsman).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Bellini to Tiepolo: Summer Loans at The Metropolitan Museum of Art," June 29–August 31, 1993, unnum. checklist.
THIS WORK MAY NOT BE LENT, BY TERMS OF ITS ACQUISITION BY THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART.
[Charles Nicolas] Cochin. Voyage d'Italie, ou recueil de notes sur les ouvrages de peinture & de sculpture, qu'on voit dans les principales villes d'Italie. Paris, 1758, vol. 3, pp. 181–82 [reprinted in Christian Michel, "Le voyage d'italie de Charles-Nicolas Cochin (1758)," Rome, 1991, pp. 393–94], notes seeing sketches by Luca Giordano, Piazzetta, and Tiepolo at the Palazzo Vecchia in Vicenza, July 1–8, 1751.
Jean Claude Richard, Abbé de Saint-Non. Journal entry. June–July 1761 [published in Rosenberg and Brejon de Lavergnée 1986, pp. 223–24], mentions seeing two little sketches by Tiepolo in the Palazzo Vecchia in Vicenza, one depicting the meeting of Antony and Cleopatra and the other the banquet of Cleopatra, calling them compositions full of fire and genius.
Pompeo Molmenti. G. B. Tiepolo: la sua vita e le sue opere. Milan, , p. 75, ill. p. 72, as in the Rothschild collection, Paris; calls it a sketch and finds it "molto curioso".
Eduard Sack. Giambattista und Domenico Tiepolo: Ihr Leben und Ihre Werke. Hamburg, 1910, vol. 1, p. 127.
Pompeo Molmenti. Tiepolo: La vie et l'oeuvre du peintre. Paris, 1911, p. 66, pl. 58.
L. E. Rowe. "A Ceiling by Tiepolo." Bulletin of the Rhode Island School of Design 21 (October 1933), p. 58.
Exposition de l'art italien de Cimabue à Tiepolo. Exh. cat., Petit Palais. Paris, 1935, pp. 199–200, no. 445, as in the collection of baron Henri de Rothschild, Paris; lists the baroness Nathaniel de Rothschild as a former owner; interprets the subject as the farewell of Antony and Cleopatra.
Antonio Morassi. Tiepolo. Bergamo, 1943, p. 34, relates it to "Alexander and Bucephalus" (Petit Palais, Paris), assigning both works to 1757.
Roberto Longhi. Viatico per cinque secoli di pittura veneziana. Florence, 1946, p. 41, notes that the gesture of Antony kissing Cleopatra's hand has been suppressed in the fresco in the Palazzo Labia.
Giulio Lorenzetti inMostra del Tiepolo. Exh. cat., Palazzo d'Italia ai Giardini and Ca' Rezzonico (Museo del Settecento Veneziano). Venice, 1951, pp. 87, 89–91, no. 66, ill., relates this picture and "The Banquet of Cleopatra" in the Alexander collection, London (now National Gallery, London), to the two paintings in Arkhangelskoye, Russia, not to the frescoes in the Palazzo Labia, adding that the the Arkhangelskoye "Meeting" is dated 1747; states that the moment depicted in this sketch differs from that in the Arkhangelskoye and Venice paintings, noting that in the latter two, the couple is advancing toward the pier to embark on the waiting ship, whereas in this one, Antony has just disembarked and greets Cleopatra.
Terisio Pignatti. Tiepolo. [Verona], 1951, p. 80, fig. 64 (detail).
Jean Cailleux. Tiepolo et Guardi. Exh. cat., Galerie Cailleux. Paris, 1952, pp. 46–47, no. 30, includes it among works of 1754–62, noting that Morassi (1943) dated it about 1757; mentions related drawings; lists the Fourau sale of 1869 in the provenance.
F. J. B. Watson. "Reflections on the Tiepolo Exhibition." Burlington Magazine 94 (February 1952), p. 44, fig. 7, believes this work, the London "Banquet," and another version of the "Banquet" in the University of Stockholm (nos. 64–66 in the 1951 Venice exhibition) "were probably painted as 'ricordi' for admirers of the [Palazzo Labia] frescoes" and dates them slightly earlier than the Villa Valmarana frescoes of 1757.
François Fosca. The Eighteenth Century: Watteau to Tiepolo. Geneva, 1952, p. 81, ill. (color).
Antonio Morassi. G. B. Tiepolo: His Life and Work. London, 1955, p. 24, fig. 30, calls it a pendant to the London "Banquet" and dates them between 1745 and 1750.
Gilberte Martin-Méry. De Tiepolo à Goya. Exh. cat., Galerie des Beaux-Arts. Bordeaux, 1956, pp. 25–26, no. 54, pl. 25, dates it about 1745–47; interprets the subject as the departure of Antony.
European Old Masters. Exh. cat., City of Manchester Art Gallery. Manchester, 1957, p. 46, under no. 163.
Decio Gioseffi. Canaletto and His Contemporaries. New York, 1960, pp. 35–36, colorpl. 16 (cropped).
Francis Watson inItalian Art and Britain. Exh. cat., Royal Academy of Arts. London, 1960, p. 172, under no. 415, calls this work and the London "Banquet" preparatory sketches for the two Arkhangelskoye paintings.
Rodolfo Pallucchini. "Un nuovo 'Banchetto di Cleopatra' di Giambattista Tiepolo." Acropoli 2, no. 2 (1961–62), p. 110.
Antonio Morassi. A Complete Catalogue of the Paintings of G. B. Tiepolo. London, 1962, pp. 2, 43, as a sketch for the Arkhangelskoye picture; dates it about 1747 and calls it "one of the best 'modelli' of this period, fresh in handling and splendid in colour".
Michael Levey. Tiepolo: Banquet of Cleopatra. 1963 [published by the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, 1965, unpaginated], calls it a first thought of around 1740 in horizontal format for the subject and a pendant to the London "Banquet"; believes the two sketches were either preparatory for the Palazzo Labia frescoes or for a pair of large-scale oil paintings, noting that Fragonard copied two such paintings in the Palazzo Vecchia, Vicenza, in 1760–61 [these were actually the MMA and London pictures themselves].
Egidio Martini. La pittura veneziana del Settecento. Venice, 1964, p. 69, colorpl. 136 (detail).
Jacob Bean. 100 European Drawings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, [1964?], unpaginated, under no. 43, calls it a study for the Arkhangelskoye painting; notes that the grouping of the two principal figures is also found in a drawing in the MMA (37.165.10).
Eighteenth Century Venetian Paintings and Drawings. Exh. cat., L'Œil galerie d'art. Paris, 1967, p. 23, no. 21, ill. p. 9 (color) [reprinted in French in L'Œil, no. 147 (March 1967), p. 9, no. 3, ill. (color)].
Anna Pallucchini inL'opera completa di Giambattista Tiepolo. Milan, 1968, p. 112, no. 176a, ill., calls it a study for the Arkhangelskoye picture.
Claus Virch. "Dreams of Heaven and Earth: Giambattista and Domenico Tiepolo in the Wrightsman Collection." Apollo 90 (September 1969), pp. 173–76, 178, fig. 1, rejects identifying it with the work included in the Fourau sale of 1869.
Terisio Pignatti. La scuola veneta. Milan, 1970, p. 85.
Colin Thompson and Hugh Brigstocke. National Gallery of Scotland: Shorter Catalogue. Edinburgh, 1970, p. 95, under no. 91, state that it was used for the Arkhangelskoye painting and may also have preceded the sketch of the same subject in the National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh.
Oil Sketches by 18th Century Italian Artists from New York Collections. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. [New York], 1971, p. 10, no. 32.
Jacob Bean and Felice Stampfle. Drawings from New York Collections. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 3, "The Eighteenth Century in Italy."[New York], 1971, p. 54, under no. 110, call it a study for the Arkhangelskoye painting.
Everett Fahy. "Tiepolo's Meeting of Antony and Cleopatra." Burlington Magazine 113 (December 1971), pp. 737–38, fig. 45, dates it to the early 1740s and finds it especially closely related to the Edinburgh sketch; believes that both works were preparatory studies for the Palazzo Labia fresco, with the MMA work being earlier than the Edinburgh one, and that the Arkhangelskoye painting derives from all three; thinks Fragonard's copy was made from this work rather than from a larger painting, as suggested by Levey (1963); believes this was probably the work recorded in the Fourau sale of 1869 and that the measurements were mistakenly reversed; notes that although Tiepolo does not follow the story literally, it is probably the first meeting of Antony and Cleopatra in 41 B.C. that is depicted.
J[oseph]. B[reck]. "A Selection from the Exhibition 'The Eighteenth Century in Italy: Drawings from New York Collections, III'." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 29 (January 1971), p. 248.
Alistair Smith. "Presented by the Misses Rachel F. and Jean I. Alexander: Seventeen Paintings for the National Gallery." Burlington Magazine 114 (September 1972), p. 634.
Everett Fahy inThe Wrightsman Collection. Vol. 5, Paintings, Drawings. [New York], 1973, pp. 219–31, no. 24, ill. p. 221 (color), figs. 1, 2, 11 (details).
George Knox. "Giambattista Tiepolo: Variations on the Theme of Anthony and Cleopatra." Master Drawings 12 (Winter 1974), pp. 381, 383–85, 387, 389 n. 5, believes that the New York and London sketches were made as studies for the Arkhangelskoye paintings, which he suggests may have been commissioned by Angelo Vecchia for his palazzo in Vicenza; proposes that the Arkhangelskoye paintings were well underway by 1743, even if they were not completed until 1747, and that their design precedes that of the Labia frescoes; argues that it is not Antony and Cleopatra's initial meeting in 41 B.C. that is depicted, but rather Antony's triumphant return to Egypt in 34 B.C.
R. A. Cecil. "The Wrightsman Collection." Burlington Magazine 118 (July 1976), p. 518.
Hugh Brigstocke. Italian and Spanish Paintings in the National Gallery of Scotland. [Edinburgh], 1978, pp. 141–42 nn. 6, 9, under no. 91, fig. 28, finds compelling Levey's (1963) argument that this sketch and the London "Banquet" were originally conceived as studies for the Palazzo Labia frescoes; considers the Arkhangelskoye paintings "later derivations" based on the compositions of the two horizontal sketches.
Eunice Williams. Drawings by Fragonard in North American Collections. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art. Washington, 1978, p. 50, under no. 12.
Terisio Pignatti inPalazzo Labia a Venezia. Turin, 1982, pp. 74, 77, 159 n. 27, fig. 52 (color).
Michael Levey. Giambattista Tiepolo: His Life and Art. New Haven, 1986, pp. 145, 156–57, 160, 164, colorpl. 145.
Pierre Rosenberg and Barbara Brejon de Lavergnée. Panopticon italiano: un diario di viaggio ritrovato, 1759-1761. Rome, 1986, pp. 223–24, 394, no. 244.
Michael Miller inMeisterzeichnungen aus sechs Jahrhunderten: Die Sammlung Ian Woodner. Ed. Friedrich Piel. Exh. cat., Albertina, Vienna. Cologne, 1986, p. 90, under no. 35, calls the Woodner drawing of the figure group of Antony and Cleopatra a study for this picture and adds that the latter may well be a design for frescoes for the Palazzo Vecchia that were never executed; states that these works differ significantly from the Palazzo Labia frescoes but are closely related to the Arkhangelskoye paintings.
Michael Miller inDibujos de los siglos XIV al XX: coleccion Woodner. Exh. cat., Museo del Prado. Madrid, , p. 128, under no. 43.
Michael Miller and Nicholas Turner inMaster Drawings: The Woodner Collection. Ed. Jane Shoaf Turner. Exh. cat., Royal Academy of Arts. London, 1987, p. 104, under no. 32, call the Woodner drawing a study for this sketch, which they mistakenly locate in the Metropolitan Museum; add that the Wrightsman picture may in its turn be preparatory for the Arkhangelskoye painting.
Jacob Bean and William Griswold. 18th Century Italian Drawings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1990, p. 236, under no. 233, state that it "is now generally considered to be a study for" the Palazzo Labia fresco; note that the Woodner drawing is even closer than the MMA drawing to the group in the oil sketch.
Michael Miller and Nicholas Turner inWoodner Collection: Master Drawings. Ed. Mary Anne Stevens. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1990, p. 120, under no. 40.
Massimo Gemin and Filippo Pedrocco. Giambattista Tiepolo: i dipinti, opera completa. Venice, 1993, pp. 397, 400, 418, no. 379a, ill., call it a study for the Arkhangelskoye painting on p. 400 and for the Palazzo Labia fresco on p. 418.
Beverly Louise Brown. Giambattista Tiepolo: Master of the Oil Sketch. Exh. cat., Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth. Milan, 1993, pp. 251–55, fig. 114, considers the New York and London sketches to be studies for the Palazzo Labia frescoes and places them earlier than the Stockholm/Edinburgh pair.
Hugh Brigstocke. Italian and Spanish Paintings in the National Gallery of Scotland. 2nd ed. Edinburgh, 1993, pp. 158–59, under no. 91, fig. 45.
George Knox inThe Touch of the Artist: Master Drawings from the Woodner Collections. Ed. Margaret Morgan Grasselli. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art. Washington, 1995, pp. 295, 297 nn. 1, 4, fig. 1, under no. 82, dates both the Woodner drawing and this sketch about 1742 at the latest and still calls the sketch a study for the Arkhangelskoye painting which he dates about 1743, before the Palazzo Labia frescoes; reconsiders his earlier (1974) suggestion that the Arkhangelskoye paintings might have been commissioned for the Palazzo Vecchia in Vicenza.
Andrea Bayer et al. inGiambattista Tiepolo, 1696–1770. Ed. Keith Christiansen. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1996, p. 32 [Italian ed., "Giambattista Tiepolo, 1696–1996," Milan, p. 32].
Bernard Aikema. Tiepolo and His Circle: Drawings in American Collections. Exh. cat., Harvard University Art Museums. New York, 1996, p. 152, under no. 54.
Chiara Basta. Tiepolo e Palazzo Labia. Milan, 1996, p. 20.
Stéphane Loire and José de Los Llanos inGiambattista Tiepolo, 1696–1770. Exh. cat., Musée du Petit Palais. Paris, 1998, pp. 180–82 nn. 3, 4, 6, fig. 96, under nos. 52–53, agree with Knox that the New York and London sketches are studies for the Arkhangelskoye paintings, which they suggest may have been commissioned by Carlo Cordellina and which they date 1743–47, before the Palazzo Labia frescoes.
Keith Christiansen. "Paris: Giambattista Tiepolo." Burlington Magazine 141 (April 1999), p. 245.
Keith Christiansen. "Tiepolo, Theater, and the Notion of Theatricality." Art Bulletin 81 (December 1999), p. 673, fig. 14, refers to the New York and London sketches as studies for the Arkhangelskoye paintings.
Adriano Mariuz. "Tiepolo 1998." Arte veneta 54 (1999), pp. 87–88.
Filippo Pedrocco. Giambattista Tiepolo. Milan, 2002, pp. 127, 277–78, no. 204/1.a, ill. (color), mistakenly as in the Metropolitan Museum; calls it a study for the Arkhangelskoye painting.
Jaynie Anderson. Tiepolo's Cleopatra. Melbourne, 2003, pp. 34, 125–26, 142–44, fig. 6 (color), calls the New York and London pictures preparatory sketches for the Arkhangelskoye paintings.
Adriano Mariuz. Le storie di Antonio e Cleopatra: Giambattista Tiepolo e Girolamo Mengozzi Colonna a Palazzo Labia. Venice, 2004, pp. 29, 32, 80 n. 31, ill. p. 31 (color), considers the New York and London sketches to be studies for the Arkhangelskoye paintings; observes that the figures of Antony and Cleopatra in the Arkhangelskoye "Meeting" are almost identical to those of the bride and groom in the fresco of "The Continence of Scipio" at the Villa Cordellina, Montecchio Maggiore.
Philippe Boyer inCléopâtre dans le miroir de l'art occidental. Ed. Claude Ritschard and Allison Morehead. Geneva, 2004, pp. 214, 216, fig. 2 (color), under nos. 41–43, dates this picture about 1747 and the London one about 1746, considering them sketches for the Arkhangelskoye paintings.
Everett Fahy inThe Wrightsman Pictures. Ed. Everett Fahy. New York, 2005, pp. 84–89, no. 25, ill. (color), states that "although [the New York and London sketches] have traditionally been presumed to be preparatory studies for the main frescoes in the Palazzo Labia, the current consensus is that they were made for the canvases at Arkhangelskoye".
The Private Collection of Jayne Wrightsman. Christie's, New York. October 14, 2020, p. 29.
Related Drawings: 1) Museo Horne, Florence (6326). Artavasdes Surrendering to Antony. Brown ink and wash on paper, 15 × 11 1⁄4 in. (38 × 28.5 cm). 2) Victoria and Albert Museum, London (D.1825.159-1885). Cleopatra. Pen and wash, 8 7⁄8 × 6 1⁄4 in. (22.6 × 15.8 cm). 3) Victoria and Albert Museum, London (D.1825.186-1885). Antony and Cleopatra with a Page. Pen and wash over black chalk, 11 7⁄8 × 8 3⁄8 in. (30.2 × 21.2 cm). 4) Victoria and Albert Museum, London (D.1825.221-1885). Antony and Cleopatra. Pen and wash over black chalk, 10 1⁄4 × 7 1⁄2 in. (26.2 × 19 cm). 5) Metropolitan Museum, New York (37.165.10). The Meeting of Antony and Cleopatra. Brown ink and black chalk on paper, 16 × 11 1⁄2 in. (40.6 × 29.2 cm). 6) National Gallery of Art, Washington (formerly Woodner collection; 1991.182.2). The Meeting of Antony and Cleopatra. Pen and brown ink with brown wash over black chalk on buff paper, 14 × 10 1⁄4 in. (35.5 × 26.1 cm).
Copies: 1) Private collection, Düsseldorf (in 1962). Oil on canvas, 38 5⁄8 × 57 7⁄8 in. (98 × 147 cm). 2) Private collection, Europe (in 1974). Attributed to Domenico Tiepolo or Francesco Lorenzi, A Kneeling Page. Drawing after the figure in the MMA painting (Knox 1974, fig. 9).
This work may not be lent, by terms of its acquisition by The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
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Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (Italian, Venice 1696–1770 Madrid)
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