Tessinarna i Venedig


  • Martin Olin Nationalmuseum, Stockholm




Tessin, Tiepolo, floor patterns, Drottningholm, history of collections, Venetian painting


The Tessins in Venice

Foreign royalty and other travelers visiting Venice in the early eighteenth century encountered a flourishing of the arts. This vibrant artistic life could be transposed to new settings, as a number of Venetian painters worked for courts north of the Alps. When the statesman and connoisseur Carl Gustaf Tessin, Swedish Ambassador to Vienna, visited Venice in 1736, it was with the intention of hiring a decorative painter for the new royal palace in Stockholm. His first choice was Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, but his services proved to be too costly for the Swedes. Tessin did, however, buy art works, among them easel paintings by Tiepolo, Giuseppe Nogari and Francesco Zuccarelli. Anton Maria Zanetti helped Tessin survey the artistic landscape of his city and later became his agent. Carl Gustaf Tessin was not the first Tessin in Venice. His father and grandfather had also visited and documented Venetian architecture in drawings and notes. Marble floors in Venetian buildings left such a lasting impression on Nicodemus Tessin the Elder that he incorporated their patterns in his floor designs for Drottningholm Palace. In his travel notes from 1688, Nicodemus Tessin the Younger is critical of Venetian architecture, but writes enthusiastically about the city’s theatre and civic life.