Punchinello’s Father Brings Home His Bride, ca. 1797

Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo was seventy years old when he embarked on his cycle on the life of Punchinello. The popular Punchinello figure with its hunched back and conspicuous costume had its origins in the Commedia dell’Arte. Without looking to any literary source for orientation, Tiepolo invented more than a hundred episodes in which he recounted Punchinello’s turbulent life – from his parents’ marriage to his birth and finally his death. Like all of the scenes, “Punchinello’s Father Brings Home His Bride” has been executed with the pen and brush in nuanced shades of brown. The event is presented as if on a stage. The foreground is dominated by a crowd of people arranged in a horizontal row. The ill-matched bridal couple can be made out in the midst of the throng. The eccentricity of the bridegroom is eclipsed by the beauty of the bride, who is characterised chiefly by her clothing and posture, which radiate dignity and charm. Unlike his father Giovanni Battista, who had likewise devoted himself to the figure of Punchinello, Domenico used the antics of this burlesque figure to hold up a satirical mirror to society, thus responding to the fundamental historical transformations taking place at the end of the eighteenth century.

Pen and brush in brown over black chalk on ribbed hand-made paper
355 x 470 mm
Property of the Städelscher Museums-Verein e. V.