Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Study for an Inkstand

Artist:
Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (Italian, Venice 1696–1770 Madrid)
Date:
ca. 1740–45
Medium:
Pen and brown ink, gray wash, with splashes of brown wash on the left, over black chalk
Dimensions:
17 11/16 x 12 3/16 in. (45 x 31 cm)
Classification:
Drawings
Credit Line:
Robert Lehman Collection, 1975
Accession Number:
1975.1.425
Not on view
The celebrated Venetian painter, etcher, and draftsman Giambattista Tiepolo is best known for his theatrically painted ceilings. This sheet represents a lesser known side of Tiepolo’s production: his designs for metalwork. Formerly identified as a study for a fountain, this drawing is now thought to represent a design for an inkstand, possibly in silver, viewed slightly from below and to the left of its central axis. Two goose quill pens emerge from conical shell holders behind the two figures of mermaids, whose tails serve as support stands for the object. The central figure, holding a torch and a book, represents Sapienza, or knowledge. The drawing probably dates to the 1740s, when the artist produced other designs for silver.
Armand-Louis de Mestral de Saint-Saphorin; Paul Wallraf, London. Acquired by Robert Lehman in 1962.
Related Objects

Seated magician, boy and four figures from the Scherzi di Fantasia

Artist: Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (Italian, Venice 1696–1770 Madrid) Date: ca. 1743–50 Medium: Etching; first state of two Accession: 1976.537(24) On view in:Not on view

Magician pointing out a burning head to two youths, from the Scherzi

Artist: Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (Italian, Venice 1696–1770 Madrid) Date: ca. 1743–50 Medium: Etching; first state of two Accession: 1976.537(20) On view in:Not on view

Three magicians burning a snake, from the Scherzi

Artist: Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (Italian, Venice 1696–1770 Madrid) Date: ca. 1743–50 Medium: Etching; first state of two Accession: 1976.537(13) On view in:Not on view

Six people watching a snake, from the Scherzi

Artist: Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (Italian, Venice 1696–1770 Madrid) Date: ca. 1743–50 Medium: Etching Accession: 17.34.19 On view in:Not on view

Woman kneeling in front of magicians and other figures, from the Scherzi

Artist: Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (Italian, Venice 1696–1770 Madrid) Date: ca. 1743–50 Medium: Etching; first state of two Accession: 1976.537(9) On view in:Not on view