Erotic images from Greece and Rome, £16.99
Height: 355.000 mm
Width: 474.000 mm
Prints and Drawings
Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo, Punchinello Carried off by a Centaur, pen and ink sketch
Italy, around AD 1797
Punchinello is the name of a clown character
taken from the Italian comic theatre tradition, the
This drawing in pen and ink and brown wash shows Punchinello being carried off on the back of a rearing centaur (half man and half horse). He is pursued by a bare-footed woman in a head scarf, her face unseen, and her arms waving wildly in the air. The artist and clown mock the classical scene in which a centaur carries off a woman and is pursued by a hero. The most famous classical occurrence was when Deianira, wife of the Greek hero, Hercules, was carried off by Nessus the centaur.
In the 1790s, Tiepolo (1727-1804) painted a series of frescoes including a Punchinello room in the family's Villa Zianigo and now in the Ca' Rezzonico, Venice. Later he made a series of one hundred and four drawings of the adventures of his anti-hero. These highly worked drawings were entitled Divertimento per gli Ragazzi ('Amusement for the Young'). Their purpose was the mockery of the classical tradition and the enjoyment of the theatrical escapades of the clown.
J. Martineau and A. Robinson (eds), The glory of Venice: art in th (New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 1994)
A. Gealt, Domenico Tiepolo: the Punchine (London, British Museum, 1986)