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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

Fun Fact

Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo, who often depicted multiple Punchinellos (a clown figure) in his drawings, added two in this scene—the figure on the left with a cloak comically draped over his head, and another on the right holding an umbrella.

Description

Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo, an important Venetian fresco painter of the 18th century, is best known today for his highly finished historical drawings that ingeniously incorporate details from daily life. In his series of 104 drawings known as I Divertimenti per li Regazzi (Enjoyments for Children), he featured the Punchinello character from the Italian tradition of popular theater, a picaresque clown figure with a hooked nose, hunchback, and bloated belly. The character appears repeatedly in Tiepolo's sprawling narrative that rehearses the social mores of late eighteenth-century Venice through genre scenes of daily life, comic misadventures, and pathetic tragedies. In this enigmatic scene, one of nine sheets from I Divertimenti at the CMA, the artist depicted a group of seven figures from the back as they wander aimlessly amid a shower that literally drips down the white paper. Domenico's characteristically tremulous lines and broad, simple washes of brown ink, laid down over an initial sketch in black chalk, capture a fresh and misty atmospheric effect that magnifies the pensive quality of the scene. The artist made this and other drawings from the series as finished works without correlations in other media.

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