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Giovanni Battista Tiepolo 1696-1770
Two magicians and two children
Etching, c.1743
Founder's Bequest 1816

Tiepolo was the outstanding Venetian artist of the 18th century. This etching from the set Scherzi di fantasia ('fantasy jests') shows the extraordinary sense of light that he could create with glittering black etched lines set against bright white paper. He developed the composition in two preparatory drawings made in the early 1740s. The themes of the Scherzi, with their exotic mixture of satyrs, sorcerers and turbaned figures, may well have been stimulated by Tiepolo's commission to decorate a room with scenes from Tasso's Jerusalem delivered, which he painted around 1742.


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