Tiepolo & the Abstract Spin

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, 1752-53, Fresco Stairwell of the Residenz, Würzburg
Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, 1752-53, Fresco Stairwell of the Residenz, Würzburg

Robert Linsley considers the spatial possibilities that eighteenth century ceiling painting might offer contemporary abstract painting.

Linsley writes that "Tiepolo is a conduit back to the rich history of ceiling painting, which turns out to be more important for abstraction than we might expect... Pictorial problems of the eighteenth century become pictorial possibilities of the twentieth. Rotatable space might be one of the undeveloped potentials of modern abstraction. Pollock attacked the canvas from all sides, but the finished works had a top and bottom that we have no need or desire to change. But as with historic painting, tondos and ovals can help to get us off the ground... when one looks at a great Tiepolo ceiling, and the clouds start to spin as our feet unavoidably shift sideways, modern abstraction, present and future, is not far off."