The Marriage of Frederick Barbarossa and Beatrice of Burgundy

Image credit: The National Gallery, London

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During the early 1750s, the Venetian artist Giovanni Battista Tiepolo painted a series of frescoes (a type of wall painting made directly onto wet plaster) for the archbishop’s palace in Würzburg in Germany. This picture is a small oil sketch after one of those scenes, probably made by his son Domenico. Frederick Barbarossa was Holy Roman Emperor from 1155 to 1190, and married Beatrice of Burgundy in 1156. This painting doesn't reflect twelfth-century fashions, however – the setting and costumes are of a sixteenth-century style, and the figure of the emperor is based on Prince-Bishop Karl Philipp von Greiffenklau, who commissioned the fresco. Most of the surrounding figures gaze towards the bishop who conducts the ceremony, but not everyone is paying attention.

The National Gallery, London



The Marriage of Frederick Barbarossa and Beatrice of Burgundy


about 1752-3


Oil on canvas


H 72.4 x W 52.7 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Bequeathed by the Misses Cohen as part of the John Samuel collection, 1906

Work type



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