It seemed like a compliment when, Michael Levey, former Director of the National Gallery (London) described Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (Venice, 1696- Madrid,1770) as "the greatest decorative painter of eighteenth-century Europe, as well as its most able craftsman."[note]Michael Levey. Painting in Eighteenth-Century Venice (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994), 193.[/note] (And, Levey was certainly a life-long advocate of Tiepolo.) But, for many the terms "decorative" and "craftsman" seem to indicate a lack of seriousness — a missing gravitas reserved for an Old Master. Because much of his work was made for and installed in architectural settings — and limited to three geographic locations (i.e. Venice, Wurzburg, and Madrid) — Tiepolo is not always given the attention, I believe, are befitting his remarkable gifts for composition and narrative.
Above is a raw audio recording of a discussion between me and a group of professional artists discussing Tiepolo's development and major work. With only 90 minutes we could not hope to approach all his works; nevertheless, we covered a lot of ground.