Thursday, April 2, 2015

Scherzi & Capricci

Giambattista Tiepolo (1696-1770) created two series of etchings in the 1740s. The image above served as title page for a series called Scherzi (with later lettering on the large block of dressed stone poking out of the earth and encumbered with multiple owls). Seven of the Scherzi themselves are ranged below, reproduced from prints at the Metropolitan Museum. Tiepolo obsessively arranges and rearranges the elderly magician figure, the soldier, Punchinello, along with broken altars, serpents, skulls, blasted trees  all brought into proximity here for unknowable purposes that yet seem to involve a clear sense of intention.

Teipolo's second series of similarly otherworldly prints was called Capricci. They formed a continuation of the Scherzi in most respects, but with a predominantly horizontal format.