- Museum number
Upper storey of the Scuderia (Stables) of the Villa Valmarana outside Vicenza
Pen and brown ink, brown wash
- Production date
Height: 100 millimetres
Width: 232 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- This is one of four pen-and-wash studies in the BM (1929,0511.24 and 25, 1936,1010.17) from a now dispersed group of drawings of landscapes or architectural details of farms, villas and churches in Friuli and the Veneto from an album dispersed by the London dealer E. Parsons in the early 1900s. The present one is the best of this group and is unquestionably by Gianbattista which is not true of the others. Before this they were likely in an album in the Cheney collection (see acquisition note).George Knox was the first to assemble the contents of the album in his publication of 1974 where he noted that Domenico made use of some of the drawn buildings for settings in his finished drawings. The drawings likely date from the period between Tiepolo's return from Germany in 1753 and his departure to Spain in 1762, a dating that can be refined more precisely in the case of the present work.
Giorgio Vigni first identified this as a view of the upper storey of the stable block of Palladio's Villa Valmarana outside Vicenza seen from the road to the east (a photograph of the building from the same angle is in Knox 1974, p. 40). A drawing in Berlin by the same artist (K.d.Z. 4580; Knox no. 37) depicts the atrium of the main villa. These two drawings can be dated to the summer of 1757 when Giovanni Battista and Domenico were painting the fresco decorations in the villa for Count Giustino Valmarana. Whether the artist made the drawings directly from the buildings is open to question as they are drawn with great freedom with few signs of corrections; on this matter see see B. Aikema, in exhib. cat., Harvard University Art Museums and New York, Pierpont Morgan Library, 'Tiepolo and his circle: drawings in American collections', 1996, pp. 200-201. Aikema suggests that Tiepolo made the drawings as useful motifs to be inserted into landscapes in paintings by him and his sons, but if they were conceived as such it is odd that he did not draw the whole building which his sons then could have used as a motif in whatever form they liked. Perhaps such drawings had no practical function beyond satisfying the artist's compulsive love of working on paper, no less mysterious is why he chose to draw the building from the public road when he could easily have sketched it from the other side of the wall. Such boundaries, normally a kind of wooden fence, are a common motif in Tiepolo's work which again raises questions as to their significance to him.
Three drawings from the same album are in Rotterdam, see B. Aikema and M. Tuijn, in exhib. cat., Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, 'Tiepolo in Holland: works by Giambattista Tiepolo and his circle in Dutch collections', 1996, nos. 46-8.
Lit..: D. von Hadeln, 'Handzeichnungen von G. B. Tiepolo', Florence and Munich, 1927, I, p. 18 (with incorrect registration number), II, pl. 113; G. Vigni, 'Disegni del Tiepolo', Padua, 1942, n. 42; T. Pignatti, 'I disegni veneziani del Settecento', Rome, 1966, no. 68; G. Knox, 'Un quaderno di vedute di Giambattista e Domenico Tiepolo', Milan, 1974, no. 36.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1968 BM, Piranesi, no.17
1972 BM, The Art of Drawing, no.315
1984 BM, Master Drawings and Watercolours in the British Museum, no.34
2019 23 Feb-9 Jun, Italy, Venice, Palazzo Ducale, Canaletto, Tieppolo e il Settecento veneziona,
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- This drawing, along with all other Tiepolo landscape studies, probably came from the Edward Cheney sale Sotheby's, 6.v.1885/1029 (extra lot pasted in BM copy of the catalogue) of seven Tiepolo albums of 'figures, costumes, studies for pictures, landscapes, architecture, &c'
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number