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The Presentation of Mary in the Temple

The son of the famous Venetian artist Giambattista Tiepolo, Domenico was also a noted draftsman. His graphic style, more earthbound and rooted in observation than his father’s, bears his distinctive trembling line quality. Domenico worked in serial narratives, including his New Testament cycle, numbering at least 320 sheets. This image is one of twelve drawings from this important series in Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art’s collection (Eskenazi Museum of Art 2010.111-.122).

By combining narrative elements from a variety of literary sources with details of daily life, Domenico brought new life to these biblical stories. This episode from the Life of the Virgin takes elements from the Golden Legend, such as Mary ascending fifteen steps—one for each Psalm, but adds the girl’s youthful enthusiasm and an audience of patriarchs, an egg seller, and even a small dog.

Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo
Italian, 1727–1804
The Presentation of Mary in the Temple from The New Testament series
1786–90
Brown ink and brown ink wash over black chalk on paper
Image: 18 ¼ x 13 ¾ in. (46.4 x 34.9 cm); sheet: 19 ½ x 15 1/8 (49.5 x 38.1 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, The Anthony J. Moravec Collection of Old Master Drawings, 2010.113