Tiepolo in Milan: The Lost Frescoes of Palazzo Archinto
by Miriam Silverberg
The Frick Collection on East 70th is presenting paintings, drawings, prints and photographs related to Giambattista Tiepolo’s (1696-1770) first significant project outside of Venice, a series of ceiling frescoes painted in 1730-31 for Palazzo Archinto in Milan. I know, you’ve never heard of Tiepolo, but that’s why you should see his work which is so beautiful. Tragically, the frescoes were destroyed during the Allies’ bombing during WW 11.
The exhibit brings together more than 50 works from collections in the US and Europe to tell the story of the Frescoes and how they came to be commissioned by Count Carlo Archinto, a most influential patron and intellectual. The Frick is the only place where all these works (preparatory paintings and drawings, oils and photographs, etc.) can be seen together.
Several complementary drawings and books illustrated by Tiepolo are included alongside documentary photographs, taken between 1897 and the early 1940s, which are the only surviving records of the finished frescoes.
Curated by Xavier F. Salomon, the Frick’s Chief Curator, Salomon has said something that has really stayed with me: “At a moment in history when wars are destroying art and culture in many parts of the world, it is worth pausing to consider, through an exhibition like this, the tragic, irreparable effects caused by violence throughout the centuries on great works of human creativity.” Amen.
Miriam Silverberg is a freelance journalist and owner of Miriam Silverberg Associates, a boutique publicity agency based in Manhattan. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.