Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo

Between 1797 and his death in 1804, Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo—the son of Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, whose work is on view nearby—created 104 inventive wash drawings for his series Divertimenti per li ragazzi (Diversions for Children). The drawings illustrate the life of the tragicomic commedia dell’arte figure Punchinello (identified by his white garments, conical hat, and beaked mask), a popular protagonist in Italian theater and puppetry starting in the 1600s. Punchinello collapses on the road takes place just before the protagonist’s death. Having suffered a fall, he is surrounded by eleven concerned companions and three lamenting women. While the Divertimenti presents Punchinello as a kind of everyman, Tiepolo also frequently referenced the life of Christ. This drawing recalls the scene of Christ falling as he carries the cross.

Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo
Italian, 1727–1804
Punchinello collapses on the road, ca. 1797–1804
Pen and brown ink, and brush and brown washes, over traces of charcoal
The Art Institute of Chicago, gift of Richard and Mary L. Gray; 2019.869
Gray Collection Trust, Art Institute of Chicago
Photography by Art Institute of Chicago Imaging Department