Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (Italian, Venetian, 16961770)
Oil on canvas; 28 1/4 x 20 1/4 in. (71.8 x 51.4 cm)
Purchase, 1871 (71.121)
The picture shows Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa investing Harold of Hochheim, bishop of Würzburg, with the dukedom of Franconia. The event occurred in 1168, but Tiepolo has envisaged it as a Baroque ceremony. The picture is a preparatory study for one of the frescoes in the vault of the Kaisersaal (dining room) of the Residenz (the Prince-Bishop's Palace) in Würzburg. The cycle was executed in 175152. The final composition shows a number of major changes and is contained in a gilt stucco surround with painted plaster curtains.