Collection Online

The Finding of Moses
(1740-1745)

Medium
oil on canvas
Measurements
234.5 × 308.0 cm
Place/s of Execution
Venice, Italy
Accession Number
95-5
Department
International Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Felton Bequest, 1959
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of Digitisation Champion Ms Carol Grigor through Metal Manufactures Limited
Gallery location
17th to 18th Century European Paintings Gallery
Level 2, NGV International

Frame

Giambattista TIEPOLO
The Finding of Moses (1740-1745)
Framemaker
Unknown - 18th century
Date
c.1770-1800
Materials

Baltic pine, white pine, gold leaf

Condition

The frame has been re-surfaced and repaired.

Giambattista TIEPOLO
The Finding of Moses (1740-1745)
About

The frame on Tiepolo’s The Finding of Moses is currently thought to be English, dating to the late eighteenth century.
The painting was executed, in the manner of Paulo Veronese, by Giambatista Tiepolo around 1755. It appeared on the market in Venice in 1769, attributed to his brother and was acquired by John Stuart (3rd Earl of Bute) and appears in England c.1771. There are records of the transport of the painting out of Venice at that time but no mention of a frame. The painting remained in the Bute collection housed at Luton Park, Bedfordshire, until the sale of the collection by Christie’s of London 1822.
The frame mixes elements of English, William of Kent frames with seventeenth century Italian Mannerist and later Baroque forms. It is unlike Venetian frames of the eighteenth century and indirectly related to English frames of the same period. There are a number of frames of this type on paintings from the Bute collection.
The main plank of timber in The Finding of Moses frame construction is Baltic pine while the back edge ornament, the masks and foliate carving are from White pine. Though we might anticipate Italian frames using poplar as a timber, the use of pine in this frame does not preclude it being made in Italy. The corners are mortise and tenon joints that may once of been pinned with dowels. In recent years the structural integrity of the frame has been supported with a welded aluminium box section attached to the reverse for display. There are a number of layers on the surface of the frame but the ground layers appear to be calcium carbonate based. This most likely suggests an English rather than Italian origin for the frame.
On the left side sections of the bead course have been cut away to receive the mask while on the right side the mask sits on top of the bead course. Similarly parts of the mask lobes have been cut in some places and not in others. The sanding on the frieze extends under the masks. The foliate scrolls top and bottom and the bell forms above and below the masks seem curiously at odds with the masks and grotesques forming the other main ornamental devices. They may be later additions. The foliate scrolls appear on the Bute frames. Cross-sections indicate there may be a layer of gilding under the sanding of the frieze. All of this suggests the frame has been through a number of restorations and embellishments. The sanded frieze would seem more English than Italian.
The painting was cleaned and restored in 2009/10.
The association of the frame with those at Mount Stuart, made by Nicholas Penny in 2012, was critical in resolving the provenance of the painting.