About this artwork
The patchy and cracked surface of the central, circular form in this collage mimics the pitted surface of the moon, and this hint of celestial spheres is echoed in the additional, outer circle incised in the paint, which suggests a planetary ring. This incised line is not continued to the right of the central form, where, squeezed somewhat to the side, is a fragment of a color reproduction of Giovanni Battista Tiepolo’s fresco Cleopatra and Mark Antony at the Harbor from the ballroom of the Palazzo Labia, Venice (see Sacheverell Sitwell, ed., Great Houses of Europe, London, 1961, pp. 183 [ill.], 85). Cornell‘s chosen portion is from the right-hand side of the scene, showing only the secondary figures; the tiara, which gives the collage its title, is being carried on a blue cushion by a page and is possibly about to be offered to Cleopatra. This fragment introduces a group of figures into the composition in a manner similar to the celestial, mythological figures in Pavilion. The dog could perhaps be a reference to the constellation Canis. A formal connection between Tiepolo’s painting and the collage as a whole is established through the white stone globe, an architectural fragment at the center of the group of figures, which recalls the form of the moon.
— Entry, Dawn Ades, Surrealist Art: The Lindy and Edwin Bergman Collection at the Art Institute of Chicago, 1997, p. 92-93.
- Joseph Cornell
- The Tiara
- United States
- Commercially printed papers and painted mixed media, with pen and black and brown ink, on untempered masonite
- 308 × 388 mm
- Lindy and Edwin Bergman Joseph Cornell Collection
- © The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation / Licensed by VAGA at ARS, New York