Tiepolo's work reflects the culmination of the baroque tradition in Venice. In this painting the artist celebrated the ideal of feminine beauty. The luminous skin portrayed in melting brushwork only serves to heighten the sensuous poetry of the painting. The young woman, Tiepolo's favorite model named Cristina, holds an eighteenth-century mandolin and listens to the pitch of the note as she adjusts the keys. The painting is thought to have been commissioned for Catherine the Great, the empress of Russia.
Artist Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Italian, 1696-1770
  • Woman with a Mandolin
Date ca. between 1755 and 1760
Medium oil on canvas
Dimensions Unframed: 36 7/8 × 29 1/2 inches (93.7 × 75 cm)
Framed: 45 5/8 × 39 5/8 × 4 inches (115.9 × 100.6 × 10.2 cm)
Credit Line Gift of Anne and Henry Ford II
Accession Number 57.180
Department European Painting
On View European: Grand Tour of Italy-Venice, Level 2 (see map)
1814, transported by (Niccolò Leonelli, Venice, Italy) to (St. Petersburg, Russia);
May 14-23, 1817, Leonilli sale (St. Petersburg, Russia).
probably Prince Nicolai Yousoupov [d. 1831] (St. Petersburg, Russia).
by 1834 or 1839, Boris Yousoupov [d. 1849] (St. Petersburg, Russia).
Biron (Paris, France);
until 1937, Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, Duke de Dino (Paris, France);
until 1957, by descent to Duchess de Talleyrand-Périgord [also known as Duchess de Dino] (Paris, France and New York, New York, USA);
1957, (Rosenberg & Stiebel, New York, New York, USA);
Mr. and Mrs. Henry Ford II;
1957-present, gift to the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
Catalogue de la collection de tableaux de feu M. Leonelli. 1817, no. 182.

Richardson, E.P. "An Unrecorded Painting by Tiepolo." Bulletin of the DIA 37, no. 4 (1957-58): pp. 80-81 (cover ill.).

Morassi, A. "Giambattista Tiepolo’s ‘Girl with a Lute’, and the Clarification of Some Points in the Work of Domenico Tiepolo." Art Quarterly 21, no. 2 (Summer 1958): pp. 177-186 [ca. 1753-57.]

Richardson, E.P., ed. Treasures from the Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1960, p. 100.

Morassi, A. A Complete Catalogue of the Paintings of G.B. Tiepolo. London, 1962, p. 10 (fig. 414).

Precerutti Garberi, M. "Segnalazioni Tiepoleschi." Commentari, no. 3 (1964): pp. 246-261, p. 251 (fig. 8).

Pignatti, T. I disegni veneziani del settecento. Rome, 1966, p. 211.

Pallucchini, A. L'opera completa di Giambattista Tiepolo. Milan, 1968, pp. 126-127, no. 251, pl. 50 and on cover.

Cummings, F. and C. Elam, eds. Detroit Institute of Arts Illustrated Handbook. Detroit, 1971, p 115 (ill.).

Pallucchini. "Tiepolo a Passariano." Arte Veneta 25 (1971): pp. 334-338, p. 336.

Mostra del Tiepolo. Exh. cat., Museo Civico. Udine, 1971, p. 140, cat. 74.

Schloss, E. "Tiepolo at the Doge’s Palace." International Herald Tribune, October 1, 1971, p. 8.

Fredericksen, B. and F. Zeri. Census of Pre-19th Century Italian Paintings in North American Collection. Cambridge, MA, 1972, p. 196. [cited as "Girl with a Lute."]

Nakayama, K. "Nu feminin dans l'art." Vie et Moeur. Tokyo, 1979, vol. 9, p. 110, pl. 56.

Cummings, F., ed. Selected Works from the Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1979, p. 148, cat. 121 (ill.).

Chiarini, M. Le portrait en Italie au siècle de Tiepolo. Exh. cat. Paris, 1982, p. 101.

In Quest of Excellence: Civic Pride, Patronage, Connoisseurship. Exh. cat., Center for the Fine Arts. Miami, 1984, pp. 91-2, cat. 81, (ill.).

Levey, M. Giambattista Tiepolo: His Life and Art. New Haven, 1986, p. 246.

Pallucchini, A. and J. Le Foll, Tout l'oeuvre peint de Tiepolo, Paris, 1990, p. 128, no. 259, pl. 50

Barcham, William L. Giambattista Tiepolo. London, 1992, p. 118.

Gemin, M. and F. Pedrocco. Giambattista Tiepolo: I dipinti, opera completa. Venice, 1993, p. 479, no. 504.

Henshaw, J.P. A Visitor’s Guide: The Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1995, p. 193, (ill.). [cited as "Girl with a Mandolin."]

Pallucchini, R. La Pittura nel Veneto. Il Settecento. I. Milan 1995, pp. 458, 465 (fig. 729).

De Grazia, D. and E. Garberson. Italian Paintings of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art. Washington, D.C. 1996, pp. 290, 293, no.18. [ as by Giambattista.]

Knox, G. "Tiepolo in Venice." Apollo 144 (November 1996): pp. 53-54.

Giambattista Tiepolo, 1696-1770. Exh. cat., Museo del Settecento veneziano (Ca' Rezzonico) and Metropolitan Museum of Art. Venice and New York, 1996, pp. 27; 256-57, 261 (note 21), 268-270, 272, cat. 45a (ills.).

Pilo, G. La Giovinezza di Giambattista Tiepolo. Venice, 1997, p. 37 (ill.).

Bensi, P. "Con Grazia Parmigianesca: Note sulla tecnica pittorica della Carità della Cappella Colleoni di Bergamo" Giambattista Tiepolo nel Terzo Centenario della Nascita, Atti di Convegno Internazionale di StudiCenive, 1998, vol. I, p. 366

Eschenfelder, C. Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. Cologne, 1998, p. 113.

Giambattista Tiepolo, 1696-1770. Exh. cat., Petit Palais. Paris, 1998, pp. 214-16, cat. 70, (ill.).

Fredericksen, B. "Niccolò Leonelli and the export of Tiepolo sketches to Russia." Burlington Magazine (October 2002): pp. 621-625 (ill.).

Pedrocco, F. Tiepolo: The Complete Paintings. New York, 2002, pp. 152, 159 (ill.), 162, 189 (notes 50, 51), 304 (ill. and cat. 273), 336.

Bandes, Susan J. Pursuits and Pleasures, Baroque Paintings from the Detroit Institute of Arts. Exh. cat., Dennos Museum Center, Northwestern Michigan College, et al. Traverse City, 2003, cover (ill.), pp. 4, 9-10, 42, 43 (ill.).

Bissell, R.W., A. Derstine, and D. Miller. Masters of Italian Baroque Painting: The Detroit Institute of Arts. London, 2005, pp. 10, 184-187, cat. no. 60.

Derstine, Andria. "The Detroit Institute of Arts and Italian Baroque Painting." In Buying Baroque: Italian Seventeenth-Century Paintings Come to America, ed. Edgar Peters Bowron. University Park, 2017, p. 98.