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A Spring Shower

A Spring Shower

1790s-1804

Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo

(Italian, 1727-1804)

Pen and brown ink and brush and brown wash over black chalk; framing lines in brown ink over graphite

Support: Cream(1) laid paper

Sheet: 35.5 x 47.1 cm (14 x 18 9/16 in.); Image: 29.6 x 41.5 cm (11 5/8 x 16 5/16 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1937.573

Description

Among the treasures of the Cleveland museum's drawing collection are nine sheets from Tiepolo's series on the life of Pulchinello, known by its Italian title, I divertimenti per li regazzi ("Enjoyments for Children"). Tiepolo made 104 drawings featuring the Pulchinello character from the Italian tradition of popular theater known as the commedia dell'arte. Yet the stories Tiepolo tells with the character are of his own strikingly modern invention. This exceptional drawing depicts a group from the back, walking in a spring shower that literally drips down the white paper. Despite the melancholy tone of the scene, an element of amusement exists in the contrast of shapes among the figures and our inability to see their faces, a playful motif that might suggest a scene from the annual Venetian celebration known as carnevale.

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