Carlone’s brilliantly colored, fluid sketch is a study for the cupola fresco in the chapel of Schloss Ludwigsburg, the residence of Eberhard Ludwig, Duke of Württemburg. Large-scale ceiling decorations required especially careful planning because of their complexity. As in this composition, they often featured a multitude of figures in extreme foreshortening arranged in highly complex interwoven groups. Here, heaven expands illusionistically upwards, presided over by the Trinity and swirling masses of angels and saints. Carlone’s dependence on painted sketches to work out the elaborate commissions he undertook for palaces and churches in Germany and Austria is attested to by the presence of some 300 sketches that remained in his studio at his death.
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