After initial training under his father, Giovanni Battista Piazzetta became a pupil of the Venetian painter Silvestro Manaigo (ca. 1670-after 1744) and Antonio Molinari (1655-1704). At twenty he left for Bologna, where he became familiar with works by the Carracci, Guercino and Giuseppe Maria Crespi. In 1711 he was registered as a member of Venice's painters' guild. In the 1720s he developed into one of the most sought-after history painters in Venice. Among his patrons were Zaccaria Sagredo and Johann Matthias von der Schulenburg. In 1735, on commission from Clemens August von Wittelsbach, elector of Cologne and Grand Master of the Teutonic Order, he painted an 'Assumption of the Virgin' for the order's church in Sachsenhausen/Frankfurt am Main (now Paris, Musée du Louvre). Beginning in the early 1740s, Piazzetta maintained a large workshop. His oeuvre is comprised mainly of religious imagery, but also scenes from Roman history ('Death of Darius', Ca' Rezzonico, Venice; 'Mucius Scaevola' for the Palazzo Barbaro) and genre pictures ('Pastorale', The Art Institute, Chicago; 'Bucolic Idyll', Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Cologne). He also produced a large number of drawings. Most important are his 'Character Heads' drawn from nature, which were already being collected as autonomous works during his lifetime. In addition, he produced designs for prints, including illustrations for an edition of Torquato Tasso's 'La Gerusalemme Liberata' printed by Giambattista Albrizzi in 1745.