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Sunday 29 August 2021

Pietro Monaco’s engraving, “The Banquet of Cleopatra”, c1770, after Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

Pietro Monaco (1707–1772)

“The Banquet of Cleopatra” (aka “Il Convito di Nabal”; “Nabals Fest”), c1770, from a series of plates reproducing paintings then in the Venetian palazzi, “Raccolta di 112 stampe di pitture della storia sacra” (see BM inv. 1865,0520.773), after the painting (1744) in the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria (Melbourne, Australia) by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (aka Giambattista Tiepolo) (1696–1770) (see This impression was published in Venice by Teodoro Viero (1740–1819) (as inscribed in the plate).

Engraving on laid paper trimmed with a small margin around the image borderline and backed with a support sheet.

Size: (sheet) 37.4 x 52.1 cm; (image borderline) 32.1 x 49.4 cm.

Lettered in plate below the image borderline: (left) “Pietro Monaco del Scol”; (centre) “IL CONVITO DI NABAL/ Venit autem Abigail ad Nabal, et ecce erat ei convivium in domo ejus, quasi convivium regis, et cor Nabal jucundum, erat enim ebrius nimis: et non indicavit ei verbum pusillum, aut grande usque mane. Reg. 1. Cap. XXV. V. 36./ PITTURA DI GIO: BATTĀ: TIEPOLO POSSEDUTA DAL SIG. CO: ALGAROTTI.”(right) “Appo Teodore Vier[o] in Venezia”.

Interestingly, Charles Le Blanc (1854) does not describe this print in his “Manuel de l'amateur d'estampes, contenant un dictionnaire des graveurs de toutes les nations: ouvrage destiné à faire suite au Manuel du libraire par J.Ch. Brunet”, vol. 3, Paris, pp. 38–39 (see

See the following description of this print offered by the British Museum:

“The Banquet of Cleopatra, set within an architecturally elaborate hall, after Tiepolo

Engraving” ( 

The National Gallery of Victoria offers the following background account to the scene portrayed in Tiepolo’s painting:

“The story of Mark Antony (83–30 BC) and Cleopatra (69–30 BC) was a popular subject for artists in the 18th century. Both Antony and Cleopatra were powerful leaders. Cleopatra was the seventh and last queen of Egypt who enjoyed a life of refinement and luxury. Mark Antony was the Roman consul whose legendary extravagances included feasts where he would gorge himself on rare foods. The story of their love affair involved romance, war, military splendour, tragedy and death (Gott 2003, p. 102).

The episode represented in Giambattista Tiepolo’s The banquet of Cleopatra was written by the Roman historian Pliny in AD 77. As Gott (2003, p.102) notes, it tells of a famous contest between the Egyptian and Roman rulers. Cleopatra wagered that she could stage a feast more lavish than those of Mark Antony. Tiepolo’s painting shows the dramatic moment at the end of the meal when she removes one of a pair of rare, priceless pearls that she wears as earrings, and drops it in a glass of vinegar and drinks it.

Lucius Plancus, the third figure at the table, was umpiring the wager. He declared Cleopatra the winner of the bet and stopped her destroying the second pearl.

While Tiepolo’s painting is based on a historical story and includes visual references to ancient Egypt and Rome, Tiepolo has painted Cleopatra in contemporary dress.


Condition: a well-printed strong impression with a small margin around the outer image borderline and laid onto a sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper. There is chipping with losses the borderline (see lower right corner) otherwise this large sheet is in a very good condition with no significant stains or foxing.

I am selling this large and very rare etching—note that the National Gallery of Victoria that holds Tiepolo’s painting does not have a copy of this print (or at least not online)—for the total cost of AU$488 (currently US$356.96/EUR302.42/GBP259,43 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world (but not, of course, any import duties/taxes imposed by some countries).

If you are interested in purchasing this remarkably beautiful and luminous engraving, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold 

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