Skip to main content

The Crucifixion

Giambattista Tiepolo, Italian, 1696–1770
with the assistance of his son Giandomenico Tiepolo, Italian, 1727–1804
Oil on canvas
Place made
Venice, Veneto, Italy, Europe
Current Location
On View, Gallery 204
31 1/4 x 34 3/4 in. (79.4 x 88.3 cm)
framed: 40 1/8 x 43 5/8 in. (101.9 x 110.8 cm)
Credit Line
Museum Purchase
Public Domain
Object Number
Giambattista Tiepolo’s painting of the crucifixion and death of Christ is infused with fresh energy. Before Tiepolo, most artists arranged this scene with Christ’s cross in the center and the two thieves positioned symmetrically on either side, so that the viewer could address the image of Christ directly. Here Tiepolo has shifted the viewer’s position to the right side of the grouping, yielding an oblique viewpoint. This is one way that he makes the scene more dynamic and exciting. To increase such effects, Tiepolo applied the paint with a dazzling, almost shorthand technique that creates energetic lines capable of suggesting the motion of a charging horse or the agony of a dying man.
uture owner Eduard Friedrich Weber [Woermann, Karl. "Wissenschaftliches Verzeichnis der Älteren Gemälde der Galerie Weber in Hamburg." Dresden: Druck von Wilhelm Hoffmann, 1892, p. 120, no. 142]. In addition, the "Crucifixion" is listed among nine other works that were exhibtied in the Sedelmeyer Gallery in Paris. Although the publication is dated from 1913, the actual showing could have taken place earlier, or, the book is a synopsis of Tiepolo's works that Sedelmeyer had possessed at some time [Mauclair, Camille. "Dix chefs-d'oeuvre de G. B. Tiepolo exposés a la Galerie Ch. Sedelmeyer." Paris, 1913]. Since Sedelmeyer was an art dealer, perhaps the paintings were consigned to his establishment upon the death of Madame Brentano. Nevertheless, it seems that the paintings were not in Sedelmeyer's ownership for a long time; according to the 1892 Weber inventory and a the Getty Art History Information Program, the paintings were on the Viennese art market in 1874 [letter dated June 29, 1988; SLAM document files]. Neither one of the texts refers to possible sellers, however it could have been Sedelmeyer based on existing information.

[3] In the 1892 inventory of the Weber collection, both paintings are listed as being in the Consul's collection (see note [2]). Even though the paintings appeared on the 1874 Viennese art market, it is unknown if Weber purchased the paintings at this time. According to an annotated copy of the "Galerie Weber, Hamburg" sale catalogue, the paintings were in auction on February 20, 1912, at Rudolph Lepke's Kunst-Auctions-Haus, Berlin, no. 160 [SLAM document files]. Unfortunately, the results of the auction are not noted.

[4] According to the Getty Art History Information Program [letter dated September 23, 1988], the paintings were purchased from Fischhof by Knoedler's London office. Before the end of the year the painting and its pendant were shipped to New York where they remained until 1937. In that same year, Clendenin J. Ryan bo
Scroll back to top