Giovanni Battista Tiepolo
Magician and Other Figures Beside an Altar with Skull and Bones
From the series, Scherzi di Fantasia
8 3/4 in. x 7 1/16 in. (22.23 cm x 17.94 cm)
Medium and Support:
Etching on paper
Gift of Jean K. Weil in memory of Adolph "Bucks" Weil, Jr.
This print is a part of the series of etchings "Scherzi di Fantasia," which, as the title suggests, was intended as as a collection of fantasies or visual ruminations. Tiepolo created vignettes or scenes populated by a range of human types plus several cloven-hoofed satyrs. Tombs, cinerary urns, and monuments abound. In this image, an owl appears perched on a rock at the center left. Owls, and snakes, were emblematic of knowledge and evil. These symbolic animals, as well as the skull and bones as seen in this print, may indicate the popularity of magic and necromancy that persisted, especially in Venice, well into the eighteenth century.