Udine, The City of Tiepolo

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Giambattista Tiepolo, one of the greatest European painters of the 18th century, was born in Venice in 1696, and it is there that the largest group of his works is on display today. But another Italian town played an important role in Tiepolo's formation, and it is Udine. From 1726 to 1730, the local Patriarch, Dionisio Delfino, lavished his praise and remuneration upon the artist, commissioning frescoes that make it well worth the detour to this lovely Friulan town. Gorizia

The Death of Hyacinth, Madrid
Tiepolo went on to become a huge celebrity who was revered across the breadth of Europe, but he never forgot his erstwhile fans. He continued to paint canvases for them and in 1759 he returned, this time with his son Giandomenico. The result was a masterpiece of the artist's later years, the frescoes in the church of the Purità. Many of Tiepolo's most famous works are now in Madrid and Würzburg, but only Udine can claim that the extraordinary clarity and brilliance of his colors may have been something he first saw in the crystal-clear mountain air of this remote, almost unknown town.

Here is a partial list of works by Giambattista Tiepolo on display in Udine.

  • In the Cathedral:
    • Biblical Scenes and Angels, Resurrection (1726)
    • Crucifixion (1730)
    • Sts. Ermacora and Fortunato (1737)
    • Holy Trinity (1738)
  • In the Castle:
    • Military Scenes (fresco in the Friuli Parliament Salon) (1726)
    • S. Francesco di Sales (1737)
    • Guardian Angel (1737)

  • In Palazzo Patriarcale, staircase:
    • Banishment of the Rebel Angels (1726)
  • In Palazzo Patriarcale, gallery:
    • Rachel Hides the Idols (Tiepolo is portrayed as Jacob) (1726)
    • Sarah and the Angel (1727)
    • Abraham and the Angel (1727)
    • Jacob's Dream (1727)
    • Meeting of Jacob and Esua (1727)

  • In Palazzo Patriarcale, pink room:
    • Solomon's Decision (1729)
    • Four Prophets (1729)
  • In Palazzo Patriarcale, throne room:
    • The Bishops of Aquileia (1729)
  • In Palazzo Patriarcale, Palatine Chapel:
    • S. Carlo Borromeo (1732)
    • S. Antonio da Padova (1732)
  • In the Museo Diocesano e Gallerie del Tiepolo:
    • Strength and Wisdom (ceiling painting) (1743)
    • Consilium in Arena (1750)
  • In the Church of the Purità:
    • The Holy Virgin (altar) (1756)
    • The Assumption (ceiling fresco) (1759)

The Museo Diocesano e Gallerie del Tiepolo and Palazzo Patriarcale are at Piazza Patriarcato 1. Open Wednesday-Monday 10am-12pm and 3:30-6:30pm.

The Cathedral is in Piazza del Duomo. Open 7am-12pm and 3:30-7pm every day.

The Oratorio della Purità is next door to the Duomo. Open 7am-12pm and 3:30-7pm every day; ask for permission in the Sacristy of the cathedral (and a tip to the sacristan won't hurt).

The Castle is in Piazzale del Castello. Open Tuesday-Saturday 9:30am-12:30pm and 3-8pm, Sunday and Monday 9:30-12:30am. No entrance fee on Sunday morning. Don't confuse this Castello di Udine with Birra Castello di Udine, a local brew you can enjoy after your visit!

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