Fantastic Head in Profile, c. 1742-1757
Giovanni Battista Tiepolo
pen and brown ink with brown wash over black chalk on laid paper, mounted on laid paper
25 x 20.5 cm
National Gallery of Canada (no. 6056)
This drawing is from a group of nearly one hundred imaginary heads that Giovanni Battista Tiepolo - the dominant artist in eighteenth-century Venice - appears to have made for their own sake, like improvised virtuoso pieces. It is distinguished by a pliancy and ease of stroke with the pen. The ink wash is handled with such tangible force that one almost feels the weight of the brush on the paper, while the tonality is so bright and lucid as to suggest that the form has been drawn in full sunlight.