The Meeting of Anthony and Cleopatra
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The Meeting of Anthony and Cleopatra about 1747

On Display SCOTTISH NATIONAL GALLERY

This colourful oil sketch on canvas was made in preparation for Tiepolo's celebrated fresco of the same subject in the Palazzo Labia, Venice. It shows the Roman Commander Mark Anthony greeting Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt. The sketch is close in composition and detail to the fresco, although Mark Anthony's passionate pose here is replaced by a more upright stance in the final work. Tiepolo's decorative schemes filled with air and light reflect the influence of the sixteenth-century Venetian painter Veronese. His swift fluent brushwork contributes to the sketch's lively character and illustrates his seemingly effortless virtuosity.

Glossary Open

Composition

The arrangement of different elements in a work of art.

Fresco

A wall painting applied to fresh, wet plaster so that the coloured pigment is absorbed into the surface of the wall.

Oil sketch

A rough drawing in oil paint, possibly the preliminary version of a painting. In the in the 18th and 19th centuries it is particularly associated with landscape sketches which were executed quickly outdoors and not intended for public display.

Composition, Fresco, Oil sketch

Details

  • Acc. No. NG 91
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 66.80 x 38.40 cm (framed: 84.50 x 56.80 x 7.60 cm)
  • Credit Purchased by the Royal Institution 1845; transferred to the National Gallery of Scotland 1867