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Tiepolo, Giovanni Domenico
The Holy Family Being Ferried Across the River Jordan
1750-1753

Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo was born in Venice, the son of celebrated painter Giambattista Tiepolo, with whom he studied. This image is one of no less than 24 etchings he published in 1753, all interpretations of the biblical story of Mary and Joseph fleeing with the Infant Jesus into Egypt. The circumstances of their creation are interesting: apparently the artist presented two drawings of the theme to a prospective client, who rejected both as lacking in invention and variety. Stung by the criticism, Tiepolo composed two dozen variants. In this one, an Angel serves as steersman for the Holy Family, an apocryphal maritime gloss that no doubt struck a chord in the City on the Lagoon. The print’s elegant masses and contours owe something to Canaletto, Piranesi, and to the elder Tiepolo, while the animated, masterly lines recall Rembrandt’s.

 
Tiepolo, Giovanni Domenico
Born Venice, 1727 - Died Venice, 1804
The Holy Family Being Ferried Across the River Jordan
1750-1753
Etching on paper
height / width: 18.80 x 24.60 cm; 7.40 x 9.69 in.
Gift of W. McAllister Johnson in memory of his father, 1985
28-184

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