The Burial of Punchinello

Artist: Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo (Italian, Venice 1727–1804 Venice)

Date: ca. 1800

Medium: Pen and brown ink, brown and yellow wash, over black chalk.

Dimensions: 13 7/8 x 18 5/8 in. (35.3 x 47.3 cm)

Classification: Drawings

Credit Line: Robert Lehman Collection, 1975

Accession Number: 1975.1.473


Domenico Tiepolo's 104 drawings illustrating the life of Punchinello trace in amusing and elaborate detail the story of this popular commedia dell'arte character, from his parentage, birth, and childhood, to his diversions and adventures in near and distant lands, to his illness, death, and the apparition of his ghost.

Nine sheets from the series are in the Robert Lehman Collection. This example shows the deceased Punchinello being lowered into the ground before a group of bystanders. Both subject and composition allude to representations of saints' burials, imparting sacred overtones to the scene and emphasizing Punchinello's role as a secular everyman.