Stanford, California —The Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University presents “A Rediscovered Masterpiece: 12 Drawings from Domenico Tiepolo’s New Testament” March 2 through May 29, 2011. This display of selected works by the prolific Venetian master Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo (1727–1804) includes two drawings never before seen by the public. Admission to the Cantor Arts Center and to the exhibition is free.
Domenico Tiepolo’s relationship as pupil and assistant to his renowned father, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696–1770), inspired Domenico’s devotion to art. Although he produced oil paintings and etchings, his most significant works are drawings. Domenico Tiepolo’s pictorial retelling of the New Testament, his most ambitious series, including 316 drawings, was nearly lost.
“The master drawings on view at the Cantor Arts Center belong to the most important New Testament cycle to be rediscovered in modern times,” said Adelheid M. Gealt, Ph.D., director of the Indiana University Art Museum, which is lending the works from its Anthony J. Moravec Collection. “This massive series traces the history of the Virgin Mary’s parents, relates the story of John the Baptist, follows Christ’s ministry and passion, and concludes with the acts of Peter and Paul. Left in the artist’s studio at his death, Domenico’s cycle was never exhibited or published in his lifetime. It was quickly dismembered by collectors after Domenico’s passing, so his greatest artistic accomplishment was lost to memory.”
During 10 years of meticulous research, Gealt and George Knox, Ph.D., professor emeritus at the University of British Columbia, reconstructed Tiepolo's monumental series
by scouring public and private collections, inventories, and sales catalogs. Their exhaustive work produced an illustrated 866-page book, published by I.U. Press in 2006, available in the Cantor Arts Center Bookshop for $75. Tiepolo’s drawings, which were usually done first with black chalk and then colored and enhanced with pen, ink, and brown wash, are reproduced in full color.
Two of the drawings, discovered too late to be published in the book, have their first public viewing at the Cantor Arts Center with 10 others, in the section of the gallery for early European art devoted to works on paper. “Due to their sensitivity to light, works on paper cannot remain on view for very long. Since ink and other media fade and the underlying paper can yellow and eventually darken, we must limit the works’ exposure to light to save them for future generations,” explained Bernard Barryte, the Center’s curator of European art. “For this reason, we organize small, focused displays of works on paper that change periodically, and we are delighted to be have this opportunity to share ‘A Rediscovered Masterpiece: 12 Drawings from Domenico Tiepolo’s New Testament' with both scholars and the community.”