Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (Italian, Venetian, 16961770)
Oil on canvas; 32 x 17 5/8 in. (81.3 x 44.8 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1937 (37.165.2)
This is a preliminary sketch for one of Tiepolo's greatest religious works, the 22-foot-high canvas in the apse of the cathedral at Este, near Padua. Commissioned in 1758 and installed on Christmas day, 1759, the picture commemorates the plague of 1630 when the townspeople of Este prayed for the intercession of Saint Thecla. The first-century saint is shown among victims of the plague, praying to God; the town in the background is Este.