The Minuet

Room 034
Artists / Makers / Authorities: 
Giandomenico Tiepolo
Venice, 1727-1804
Museum tags: 
Social tags: 
  • recorder
  • double bass
  • violin

The action is inspired in the plays of Carlo Goldoni and depicts the stock characters of 'Commedia dell'arte', Pantalone and Columbina, with other elegantly dressed masked figures, dancing in the gardens of a villa. This is a genre scene set in the atmosphere of the Carnival, the event that made a visit to the city of Venice a must for European travellers in the eighteenth century. Here, Tiepolo uses the Carnival as a pretext for describing the customs and the atmosphere among the people around it: a society that concealed its decadence and took refuge behind fleeting appearances, amusements and pastimes.

When Tiepolo painted The minuet dance had for some time already been established throughout Europe.  In the mid-eighteenth century it was a dance in couples which was very well marked, and the music helped to organize and highlight the choreography.

The scene portrayed by Tiepolo is Venetian, but the numerous minuets by Luigi Boccherini (1743-1805) or the Chronicles of the Baron of Maldà confirm the success of the dance for these places.

Boccherini stylized them and often included them at the end of trios, quartets and quintets. While the journey of the Tiépolo family to the court of Carles III in 1763 was not particularly fortunate and with Giandomenico returning to Venice in 1770, Boccherini however arrived in Madrid in 1768 to stay there definitively, at the service of the Prince Don Luís, brother of the king, who settled down in Madrid's palace of Boadilla del Monte, for which he composed a lot of chamber music.  

Listen to a minuet


Written by Josep Pujol i Coll



80.7 x 109.3 cm

Francesc Cambó Bequest, 1949

Inventory number: 


Provenance unknown
Oil on canvas
Century: 18th
Subject: Genre and society
Giandomenico Tiepolo - El minuet - 1756
El minuet