About this artwork

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.

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo