-By William O’Connor

One of the oldest influences in my career has been Giovanni Battista Tiepolo.(1696-1770).

When I was a young man I can still remember ascending the grand staircase of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC and entering under the arches into the Tiepolo Gallery. These paintings were so overwhelming to this young artist that he inspired me to want to make pictures. In Europe his paintings were titanic, covering domed ceilings with trompe l’oile pink cupids and goddesses floating on clouds. As an art student I drifted away from this fantastic, pastel surrealism towards more realistic artists.

I later came to re-introduce myself to him not as a painter, but as one of the finest draftsmen of his generation.  While his amazing paintings are an inspiration and masterfully executed his mixed media sketches are fascinating and look almost like Rodin sculptures reminiscent of Rembrandt and are completely different than his paintings. His sketches have an emotional immediacy that his paintings lack, with a very expressive quality lost in the scale of his mural-sized finished work. What I find most educational is his dramatic compositions. Grouping figures into forms and balancing design with architecture effortlessly.

An artist worth a second look, and under appreciated for his sketches and works on paper. I’ve attached a few of my favorites, but explore him for yourself.