Tiepolo’s painting Neptune Offering Gifts to Venice is one of the most important works by the famous Venetian painter and one of the rare paintings created for the Doge’s Palace during the 18th century.
The work, with its imposing size and magnificence, celebrates the power and grandeur of the Venetian Republic.
Those who visit the Doge’s Palace cannot ignore it as one of the great masterpieces of the greatest master of 18th century painting. In this post I will tell you its history and the details to appreciate it as it deserves.
Neptune Offering Gifts to Venice by Tiepolo
Giambattista Tiepolo is one of the few painters of the 18th century who can boast of having contributed to the decorations of the Doge’s Palace in Venice.
In fact, the palace, symbol of Venetian power and political centre of the Serenissima Republic, can be said to have been completed at the beginning of the 17th century and, thereafter, all the interventions and works, in addition to the already many masterpieces created specifically in the past, are a rarity.
WHY TIEPOLO PAINTED NEPTUNE OFFERING GIFTS IN VENICE
The occasion for Tiepolo to create a new work for the Doge’s Palace in Venice was the deterioration of a work by Tintoretto, a fresco that at the time was on a wall on the side facing the Grand Canal, in the Sala delle Quattro Porte.
Moisture was irreparably damaging the work and Tiepolo was commissioned to replace it with a canvas, more easily removed in case of dampness.
DESCRIPTION OF NEPTUNE OFFERS GIFTS TO VENICE BY TIEPOLO
Giambattista Tiepolo decided to paint ‘Neptune offering gifts to Venice’, where Venice is represented by a richly dressed woman with a crown on her head and covered in jewels. Neptune, on the other hand, accompanied by a young man, appears to us as a strong man who comes before Venice with a load of coins, pearls and jewellery of all kinds that he generously offers.
Venice is regal, wrapped in a mantle of ermine, holding the dogal sceptre and leaning on the lion, symbol of St. Mark and the city of Venice.
NEPTUNE OFFERS GIFTS TO VENICE BY TIEPOLO: ANALYSIS
The panel painted by Tiepolo, which is the most beautiful of the works in the Doge’s Palace in Venice, seems to have been inspired by other works in the palace created a few centuries earlier, in the 16th century.
Tiepolo probably tried to create a pictorial composition that could compete with the great masterpieces of the past, but he also tried to prove that the trust placed in him by his patrons had been well placed. The artist demonstrated his ability to create masterpieces that could hold their own against the great masters of the past.
CURIOSITIES ABOUT NEPTUNE OFFERING GIFTS IN VENICE BY TIEPOLO
There are no documents confirming the exact date when Neptune Offering Gifts to Venice was actually delivered. Scholars speculate that the work was completed in June 1758 as at that time Tiepolo’s son, Giandomenico, sent four copies of his engraving of the painting to the French collector Pierre-Jean Mariette.