trieste | tiepolo at the sartorio museum

italiano /

Trieste like New York London Stuttgart and Florence… the fil rouge: the Italian painter and printmaker Giambattista Tiepolo… The complete collection worldwide counts 2000 drawings, 254 of which are in Trieste at the Sartorio Museum alone, all purchased by the Barone Sartorio in 1893.

The story behind it almost a fairy tale:

An antiquarian, a case full of papers with no value, a curious and cunning sculptor who, incredulous, discovers Tiepolo’s drawings in that case, a rich and illuminated barone who, having heard about the wonderful find, acts immediately: he buys the papers from the sculptor and from the antiquarian, not only the remaining ones, but traces also those the antiquarian had sold previously and…
…here it is: the collection expressly donated by the barone to the Comune di Trieste in his last will, in 1910.

At the Villa Sartorio part of the 254 drawings are constantly on display in the 2 Tiepolo rooms _which are air-conditioned and with a perfect lighting system_


Tiepolo … a free, nervous, poetic, playful and prolific genius …

grey – light blue – cream colored papers
notepapers laid and thin
ledger paper grained and thick 
black pencil and sanguine
black and white chalk
goose quill with grey metallic ink or soot brown
water colors bistre and sepia

drawings like sketches with which Tiepolo fixes his first ideas of figures, landscapes, animals on paper, which he later translates into his marvellous paintings

Currently a selection of 140 drawings is on display on the second floor of Villa Sartorio which makes up the exhibition:

“Tiepolo a Trieste. la collezione di disegni del Museo Sartorio”

From a didactic point of view a clear and well-organized exhibition, backed up by an interesting video in the lobby.

The exhibition is divided into 13 sections_each section is arranged in cronological order to point out the development of Tiepolo’s style_here is a selection of drawings worth mentioning:

sect. 1 > il trionfo delle arti (The Triumph of the Fine Arts)_preliminary studies for a ceiling painting_

sect. 2 > studies for historical and mythological themes: “Enea presenta Cupido nelle vesti di Ascanio” (Aeneas presents Cupid disguised as Ascanius)


sect. 3 > studies for allegorical figures

sect. 6 > studies of dogs… beautiful greyhounds which feature in the landscapes of Tiepolo’s paintings and frescoes

sect. 9 > caricatures

sect. 10 > capricci and scherzi di fantasia _preliminary studies for etchings_…a free and avantguardistic Tiepolo, a forerunner of modern art 

sect. 13 > sacred themes

Tiepolo’s drawings are an absolute must to be able to fully appreciate the miracle of colors in his canvasses and frescoes.


I almost forgot to mention a surprise.. in the basement of  Villa Sartorio there is a gem on display:

the “Madonna della cintola e Santi” 

a pictorial work by Tiepolo, an altarpiece 2 meters high dating back to 1730 and coming from the Chiesa della Consolazione of Piran and since 2006 in the collection of the Sartorio Museum.


Sartorio Museum
Largo Papa Giovanni XXIII, 1
up to April 7th, 2013: open from 10am to 6pm except Mondays
phone 040 301479


translation by > Daniela Pick Tamaro

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