PRINT December 1966

Tiepolo Acquisitions at the Met

THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM HAS very quietly purchased and placed on view three huge mural paintings by the 18th-century Venetian master, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. Reputedly the best of a set of ten painted for the Dolfin family of Venice in the early 1700s, the huge oil paintings were acquired for an undisclosed sum from a source as yet undisclosed. It is not clear when the murals first arrived in the United States.1 Unquestionably the acquisition is a major, even miraculous, one; yet the paintings, the largest of which is 18 feet high and 11 feet wide, are something of a disappointment. Virtually everything associated with the word Tiepolesque—expansive spacing, luminous, high-keyed color and a sense of weightlessness—is absent. Instead, Tiepolo indulged a distantly Caravaggesque chiaroscuro, the lingering Baroque realism of which undermined the decorative effect of otherwise ravishingly

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