Art Museums

Metropolitan Museum of Art – Allegory of the Planets and Continents: Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (Italian, 1696-1770)

This picture, Tiepolo‘s largest and most dazzling oil sketch, shows Apollo about to embark on his daily course across the sky. Deities around the sun god symbolize the planets and allegorical figures on the cornice represent the four continents.

Tiepolo presented this preliminary sketch to Carl Philipp von Greiffenklau, the prince-bishop of Würzburg, on April 20, 1752, as his proposal for the decoration of the vast staircase ceiling of the Residenz, often considered the artist’s greatest achievement. The figures in grisaille at the corners were executed on the ceiling in stucco by the decorator-sculptor Antonio Bossi.

Date: 1752
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 73 x 54 7/8 in. (185.4 x 139.4 cm)
This artwork is currently on display in Gallery 622
© 2000–2012 The Metropolitan Museum of Art. All rights reserved.
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