Part One

Page 1


a Francesca e Costanza


Acknowledgements We would like to thank BoĹźena Anna Kowalczyk for her meticolous research and care in cataloguing the drawings by Antonio Canal called il Canaletto and point out to you all the newly discovered connection, never before noticed, that the cat. no.8, is a preparatory study for the painting now in Berlin. We also thank Gloria Gallucci for her excellent entries on the Domenico Tiepolo drawings, with her new insights and observations as well as those on the other artists represented here, mostly for the first time. Caterina Caputo for her work on the Carlo Grubacs and lastly Julien Stock for his helpful advice. A special thank-you to Francesca Antonacci with whom I have shared the exciting evolution of this catalogue.

The frames of the Canaletto drawings are supplied by: Enrico Ceci, CORNICI ANTICHE via Giardini 13 - 41043 Formigine (Modena) tel. +39 059 55.61.19 enricoceci@enricoceci.com - www.enricoceci.com Dimensions are given in millimetres, with height before width.


A PRIVATE COLLECTION OF VENETIAN OLD MASTER DRAWINGS PART ONE

Presented by Francesca Antonacci and Damiano Lapiccirella

PARIS Salon du dessin 24 - 29 March 2010

Galleria Lapiccirella Borgo Ognissanti, 56r Firenze


A PRIVATE COLLECTION OF VENETIAN OLD MASTER DRAWINGS PART ONE

Paris, Salon du dessin 24 - 29 March 2010

DAMIANO LAPICCIRELLA Borgo Ognissanti, 56r 50123 Firenze Tel. +39.055.284902 - Fax +39.055.216598 e-mail: damianolapiccirella@gmail.com FRANCESCA ANTONACCI Via Margutta, 54 00187 Roma Tel. +39.06.45433036 - +39.06.45433054 e-mail: info@francescaantonacci.com

Catalogue entries by: Bożena Anna Kowalczyk (B.A.K.) Gloria Gallucci (G.G.) Caterina Caputo (C.C.) Photograph by: Arrigo Coppitz - Firenze Printed in Italy by: OkPrint - Roma


FOREWORD

This is the first time I have been invited to exhibit at, what has now become, the most important annual event in the field of drawings, the Salon du dessin, and I would like to thank the organisers for allowing me to participate. To be able to present to collectors this first part of a mostly unpublished and refined collection, begun in the early twentieth century and finished only a few years ago, is a great pleasure. The sophisticated European collector who began to create this extraordinary collection of drawings at the start of the century has always conserved them jealously without ever displaying them to the greater public. Only a few of them, such as the rare drawings by Canaletto, belonging to the famous group of the Corniani - Algarotti collection, and Giambattista Tiepolo “a gentlemen drinking coffee� and a few others have been exhibited in major international exhibitions. I hope those collectors that cannot come to Paris will enjoy this catalogue I have produced. Damiano Lapiccirella


Alessandro Magnasco, Reunion of the Quakers. Oil on canvas, 118 x 175 cm. Venice, private collection


ALESSANDRO MAGNASCO Genoa 1667 – Genoa 1749

Magnasco’s father was a painter but died when Alessandro was a child. At about the age of fifteen the young man went to Milan, where he joined the workshop of Filippo Abbiati. Most of his working life was spent in Genoa, though in 1716 he was in Venice, where he met Marco Ricci and where the creative energy that the Venetians enjoyed may have been an element in lightening Magnasco’s style. Characteristics of the Lombard school remained firmly imprinted, however, and are apparent in the artist’s stark contrasts of light and dark and a palette that tends toward the monochromatic, even sombre, in contrast to the brilliant colours favoured by his Genoese and Venetian contemporaries. Magnasco’s work is distinguished by a personal expressive quality in both subject and style. His series of paintings of Frati Cappuccini in the Seitenstetten abbey in Austria verges on caricature, as does his Satire of Nobleman in Poverty in the Detroit Institute of Arts, suggesting the Magnasco was aware of the criticism of church and class structures filtering into northern Italy from France during the first half of the eighteenth century. His style was equally eccentric, exhibiting a predilection for fleshless, elongated figures depicted with rapid, vigorous brush strokes that streak across the surface of his paintings and drawings like summer lighting. Unique though he is, Magnasco’s roots can be traced to seventeenth-century Milanese predecessors, such as Morazzone and Daniele Crespi. Similarities between Magnasco’s style and that of El Greco have been noted, although whether these occurred by coincidence or through actual contact with El Greco’s work is not known (Milan was controlled by Spain at that time). Magnasco spent the last fourteen years of his life in his native Genoa and died there in 1749.


1. A Quaker, a study for the Quaker Sermon Dateable 1712 Drawn with the brush in brown and white washes over a paper washed grey-brown 321 x 239 mm. Provenance: Private Collection, Mantova; Marelli, Bergamo; Stephen Spector, New York; David Daniels, New York his sale Sotheby’s, London 25 April 1978, lot 27. Exhibited: Dayton, Dayton Art Institute; Sarasota, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art; Hartford, Wadsworth Atheneum, 1962-63, Genoese Masters, Cambiaso to Magnasco, 1550-1750, no. 87 reproduced; American Federation of Arts, Circulating exhibition, 1966-67, Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century European Drawings, no. 25, reproduced; The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1968, Loan Exhibition of Drawings from the Daniels Collection, no. 14 reproduced, a circulating exhibition in 1968 that went on to Chicago, Kansas City, and the Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, Mass.

Although Magnasco is best known for his representation of Catholic monks, he also observed the religious life of other faiths and recorded the practices of heretics and pagans in some detail. This drawing is a study for one passage in the third version of his Quaker Sermon, a canvas dated 1712, formerly in the collection of the Magnasco scholar B. Geiger. The Quakers or The Society of Friends had been founded in England during the mid-seventeenth century. Travelling extensively, Quaker preachers had carried their doctrines across Europe, reaching northern Italy among other areas. The physical manifestations of the spirit, stressed by the early Friends as crucial signs of genuine religious experience, were obviously of great interest to Magnasco. The seated man represented in the drawing is by far the most agitated member of the meeting. He literally seems to quake at the words of the preacher, doubling up in a contorted, anguished pose. It is only natural that Magnasco, the painter of contemplation and religious ecstasies, should have singled out this detail of his composition for a separate preparatory study. The calligraphic energy of his line together with his nervous, flickering highlights offer a dramatic visual equivalent for this spiritual phenomenon. (G.G.)

Literature: B. Geiger, Magnasco, 1949, p. 161, pl. 189, reproduced.




MARCO RICCI Belluno 1676 – Venice 1730

Painter and etcher. He was the nephew and pupil of Sebastiano Ricci, with whom he collaborated in the painting of landscapes in Florence in 1706-07 and numerous occasions thereafter. He probably went to Rome and also to Milan, where an encounter with Magnasco was of particular importance. From 1708 to 1710 he worked in England as a scenographer together with Pellegrini, and again from 1712 to 1716 with Sebastiano Ricci. On his return trip to Venice, passing through Flanders and the Low Countries, he visited Paris. Marco Ricci renewed Venetian landscapes painting just as Sebastiano Ricci had renewed Venetian history painting. Essential to Marco’s art was the example of Titian, with whom he had in common the direct visual experience of the landscape of the region of Cadore. Also important was the influence of the works of Salvator Rosa, Dughet, and Pieter Mulier (Tempesta), and Luca Carlevaris’ Venetian- Roman topographical views and paintings of ruins. In his romantic landscapes Marco Ricci was the precursor of Piranesi. Ricci began to etch in 1723, but more numerous are the etchings made by others after his designs. Giuseppe Zais was his pupil and direct follower, and Zuccarelli, Canaletto, and Guardi all felt his influence. The greater part of his drawings, about three hundred, are at Windsor Castle. Like the Windsor collection of Sebastiano’s drawings they came from Joseph Smith, the English Consul in Venice.


2. An extensive landscape with herdsmen in the left foreground Gouche on paper 293 X 441 mm.

The art of landscape took two forms in the eighteenth century rebirth of Venetian painting, the veduta and the picturesque landscape. In the second of these, the important figure is Marco Ricci, the nephew and assistant of Sebastiano. The two strongest influences upon his art were Salvator Rosa and his own contemporary Alessandro Magnasco. Ricci’s favourite subjects were in the hills around his native place, Belluno, where the Adige comes out through the foothills of the Alps; subjects which were traditional in Venice (for Titian’s landscapes are based on this region) but treated with a mood and nervous touch that are new. (G.G.)




GIAMBATTISTA TIEPOLO Venice 1696 - Madrid 1770

He learned his craft in the studio of Gregorio Lazzarini (1655-1730). His early work shows the influence of Piazzetta (1682-1754) and later Paolo Veronese (1521-1588) to whom he was led by his elder contemporary, Sebastiano Ricci (1659-1734). His own highly personal style soon developed and by 1717 he was received into the Fraglia dei Pittori (Painters Guild). In 1719 he married Francesco Guardi’s sister, Cecilia, who bore him nine children including Domenico and Lorenzo who became his close assistants. He was the greatest decorative painter of the eighteenth century and was active not only in his native Venice but throughout Northern Italy: at Udine, 1726; Milan, 1731; Bergamo, 1731-32 and elsewhere. He carried out many important commissions for prestigious patrons, the two most famous being from outside his native country. From 1750-53 he went to Germany with both sons to decorate the Kaisersaal in the Wßrzburg residence of the Prince-Bishop Karl Phillip von Greiffenklau. Returning to Venice in 1755 he was elected first President of the new Venetian Academy of Painting. In 1762, at the invitation of King Charles III of Spain, again accompanied by his sons, he went to Madrid and decorated three ceilings in the newly-built royal palace. He died in Madrid in 1770. One of the greatest draughtsmen of his time and also an excellent engraver, his works had a tremendous influence on artists throughout the century.


3. Head of a young boy wearing an exotic head-dress Recto Head of a bearded man Verso Dateable between 1735 and 1760 Pen and brown ink and wash, recto; black chalk, verso 250 x 195 mm. Provenance: Sommasco convent, Santa Maria della Salute; L.Cicognara; Antonio Canova; Mons. Canova; Francesco Pesaro; Edward Cheney; Richard Owen.

This charming study comes from an album or albums containing a series of about 100 drawings, The Fantastic Heads, generally all in pen and wash. They were assembled by Tiepolo himself and entrusted, when he left for Madrid, to his son Giovanni Maria, who was a priest in the Sommasco convent, of which S. Maria della Salute is the church. On the suppression of the convent the volumes fell into the hands of L.Cicognara, historian of Italian sculpture, by whom they were given in exchange to Antonio Canova. From Canova’s brother they passed indirectly into the ownership of Edward Cheney, who recorded their history at Venice in 1842. He afterwards took them to Ireland, where they fell into complete neglect and oblivion till they appeared at Dublin and then in the London trade in 1927/28. (G.G.)



4. A standing man, seen from the front, holding a cane Dateable between 1754-62 Pen and brown ink, grey wash 203 x 134 mm.

This study is a fine example of Giambattista’s so called caricatures of people in everyday life. It is part of a very large series that includes more than three hundred drawings. G. Knox i divides the series into three. The first are mainly in the Trieste Civic Museum’s collection; the second is constituted by two important collections; one that belonged to the Valmarana family, for whom Giambattista and his sons worked in 1757, and the large group of one hundred sheets known as Sacchetto, from the name of a noble Paduan family. The third group called Tomo Terzo de caricature (which implies the existence of another two) with its one hundred and six drawing was found in Edinburgh in 1943. (G.G.)

i

See, S. e P. Scarpa, in, Antichi disegni dalla Collezione Ligabue, Milano, 2005, pp. 140-151.



5. A gentleman drinking coffee Dateable between 1754-62 Pen and brown ink and grey wash 194 x 141 mm. Provenance: The Tiepolo family; Tomo terzo de caricature album; Corniani-Algarotti (?); Edward Cheney, b. 1803 d.1884 (?); Breadalbane (?), Langton House, Berwickshire, sale Edinburgh, Dowells, 25 March 1925, lot 1004, bt. J. Grant a bookseller in Edinburgh; Arthur Kay, his sale Christie’s 9 April 1943, lot 242; London, the Arcade Gallery 1943; with the dealer Hans Calmann, London; Dr and Mrs. Francis Springell, Keswick, Cumbria, by descent to his wife, Gertrude, her sale Sotheby’s, 30 June 1986, lot 72. This sheet comes from the album Tomo terzo de caricature that was broken up after 1943; G. Knox records a letter sent to him from Dr. I.R.C. Batchelor of St. Andrews-Scotland, which has led to the clarification of the history of the album in Scotland i. James Byam Shaw has shown that this album was in the possession of Domenico after his father’s death as he made frequent use of them, copying figures into his own drawings in his later work. It is difficult to consider this delightful study of An elegant man drinking a cup of coffee as a caricature. If the caricature always tends to the grotesque this study seems to be closer to Giambattista’s elegant world. In fact it is probably part of a small group depicting people from contemporary life. (G.G.) Exhibited: London, The Arcade Gallery, Drawings by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, June 25 to July 24 1943; London, Royal Academy, European Masters of the Eighteenth Century, 1954-55, no. 588; London P.&D. Colnaghi, Loan Exibition of Drawings by Old Masters from the Collection of Dr. and Mrs. Francis Springell, Oct. 15 to Nov. 11, 1959, no. 72; Edinburgh, National Gallery of Scotland, Old Master Drawings from the Collection of Dr. and Mrs. Francis Springell, 1965, no. 68; Venice, Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Disegni veneti di collezioni inglesi, 1980, no. 73, fig. 72; Sotheby’s offices in Amsterdam, Munich, Milan and Florence, Exhibition of Drawings from the Springell Collection, May 1986, no. 33. Literature: A. Kay, Treasure Trove in Art, 1939, reproduced opp. p. 21; A. Mariuz and G. Pavanello, Tiepolo. Ironia e comico, Venice 2004, p. 29 reproduced p. 30.

i

He wrote in 1960: “This volume was bought by Kay in Edinburgh in about 1926; it was a folio album bound in contemporary gilt calf, and contained 107 caricatures 9x6 in. to 7x6 in., in pen, bistre and light wash. I am told by a friend who handled this volume that one or two of the drawings were signed by Domenico Tiepolo, thought it was a collection almost entirely of G.B. Tiepolo’s work. A year or two earlier this album had been sold out of Langton House, Duns, Berwickshire. I believe that this house belonged to the Breadalbane family in the middle of the 19th century and it is half re-called by my informant that the volume had some indication that it belonged to the Breadalbanes.”


Actual size



THE SEVEN DRAWINGS BY CANALETTO FROM THE CORNIANI-ALGAROTTI COLLECTION, VENICE Bożena Anna Kowalczyk

Sketches en plein air are the prerogative of all landscape painters, but the only authentic diagrammatic drawings that have survived – executed in front of palazzi, houses and churches, complete with annotations on the colours, the distances and the proportions, in the guise of memos for use in the paintingsi – are those of Canaletto and his pupil Bellotto. In addition to these drawings there are the studies of the individual aspects of the compositions, of the whole, or of the breakdown of the light: the swiftest of sketches, a peculiarity of Canaletto that was to be taken up by Francesco Guardi. Surprisingly, in the midst of this documentary material there are also capricci, purely imaginary, mostly without any specific later utilisation. The nucleus of thirty-three drawings known to date, originating from the Galleria Corniani-Algarotti in Venice, is the most representative repertory of the different types of sketch that Canaletto was in the habit of making in preparation for his paintings, finished drawings and etchings.ii The drawings – originally possibly thirty-four – are documented in Trieste in October 1870, when a collector or antiquarian added his illegible signature on the certificate of authenticity glossed above the card “wrapper” that held them together, specifying their provenance (fig. 1).iii In 1935 the drawings, with the exception of at least three, which remained in Trieste in the Basilio collection and later passed to Tito Miotti in Udine,iv were in Venice, where they were purchased by two different collectors, Alfredo Viggiano (1884-1948)v and Italico Brass Sr. (1870-1943), a famous Gorizia painter.vi The original wrapper remained with the fourteen Brass drawings,vii while the Viggiano sheets – which were eighteen at the time, but sixteenviii known today – are bound by a similar wrapper bearing wording identical to that of 1870, but without any indication of date or name.ix The unmistakeable handwriting of the original wrapper can be recognised in the wording “Schizzo raro e originale, di Ant: Canal, detto il Canaletto”, on the verso of all the Canaletto drawings from the Corniani-Algarotti collection that were in Trieste in 1870, with the exception of just a few sheets with drawings on both sides; it represents the unifying feature of this divided collection. The Viggiano drawings are now conserved in the Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice (8 sheets, purchased in 1964),x at the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica, Trieste (7 sketches, acquired in 1973)xi and in the Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Venice (one drawing entered in 1962 with the collection of Giuseppe Fiocco).xii Of the fourteen Brass drawings, four were sold between 1947 and 1957 to Janos Scholz (1903-1993), the famous cellist of Hungarian origin who took refuge in the United States in 1933.xiii His collection of Italian drawings, which was considered the most important in America, is now part of the collections of the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York. One drawing passed into the Paul Wallraf collection, and subsequently to the Robert Lehman Collection now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.xiv


The location of two drawings from the group is unknown;xv the remaining seven, those here, have remained together. Well known to scholars in the 1940s and 60s, and widely cited and reproduced in the literature devoted to Canaletto, even the most recent, when they were no longer accessible, they now reappear, offering important opportunities for study and comparison, both within the group itself and as part of the CornianiAlgarotti fond, recently exhibited and studied on a number of occasions with only the Viggiano drawings.xvi Taken as a whole, the Brass group represents the “first choice” of the collection, in terms both of the dimensions of the sheets which are on average larger than those of the Viggiano drawings, of the attraction of the subjects, sketches of views of Venice, with the exception of a capriccio (cat. no. 12), and finally of their specific relations with known paintings and drawings. One of the former Scholz drawings and the Wallraf sheet show the interior of San Marco, and are closely related to some of the most significant works in Canaletto’s repertory,xvii while in another two we can recognise the facades of the churches of the Gesuiti, the Pietà and San Simeone Piccolo.xviii The two sheets of unknown location are rare sketches of 1720s views of Murano and San Pietro di Castello, preparatory studies for the canvases now conserved in the Hermitage in St. Petersburgxix and in the Pushkin Museum in Moscow.xx The most frequently cited drawings in the group are among the seven presented here. The study of Piazza San Marco looking south-east (cat. no. 9), a “snapshot” that crystallises the division of light and shade on the facade of the Basilica and the Palazzo Ducale, is recognised as preparatory to the view of San Marco executed in 1742-1743 for Henry Howard (1694-1758), IV Earl of Carlisle (fig. 2), together with the pendant piece, Entrance to the Grand Canal from the western side of the Molo;xxi both paintings (National Gallery of Art, Washington DC), were part of the famous collection of forty-two Venetian views at Castle Howard, Yorkshire, now dispersed.xxii It is well known that the diagrammatic drawings of Santa Marta at the edge of the Lagoon and Houses at Santa Marta (cat. nos. 6 and 7), similar in terms of the organisation of the space of the sheet, the synthetic annotation of the details of the architecture and the logical sequence of the images, as well as those in the only sketchbook that has remained intact, that of the Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice,xxiii played a preparatory role in one of the four paintings of the Streit series, The Feast of Santa Marta (fig. 3). But it is only here, in the drawing illustrating the Grand Canal: house in the vicinity of Palazzo Foscari and Palazzo Michiel dalle Colonne (cat. no. 8), that we can identify a study for another painting in the series, Venice: The Grand Canal, looking South-East from the Campo Santa Sophia to the Rialto Bridge (Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Preussischer Kulturbesitz),xxiv which was one of Canaletto’s most important commissions in the years following his return from England in 1755. The function of two other drawings in the group – the two effervescent sketches of the facade of the Scuola di San Marco (cat. nos. 10 and 11) – have not been identified to date. Canaletto’s repertory comprises various paintings and a drawing showing the front view of the Scuola di San Marco as in the combination of the two sketches, with the details and proportions varying in line with the artist’s customary practice.xxv Among these works, only the view of the Campo Santi Giovanni e Paolo, of the remarkable series of four


executed in 1739-1740 for Thomas Brand of Hoo, Kimpton, Hertfordshire, later Viscount Hampden, Alton, Hampshire xxvi (fig. 4), follows the indications of the sketches in the spatial relations between the various decorative elements of the facade and in the details, such as the manner of marking the intrados of the windows and the outline of the lion of San Marco. The Capriccio: a colonnade in ruins at the edge of the sea is the last drawing of the group, dating to Canaletto’s last years (cat. no. 12), like the sketch previously belonging to Janos Scholz, a preparatory study for the famous drawing of San Marco: Crossing and North Transept, with Musicians Singing executed in 1766 “without glasses” (now, Hamburg, Kunsthalle).xxvii In the seven drawings discussed above we can identify four different types of paper and three watermarks. The three diagrammatic sketches, with drawings on both sides, are on paper of the same type, and two have the same watermark. They may have been part of the same sketchbook, probably together with the Palazzo Foscari a Santa Sofia, previously Viggiano, it too a preparatory sketch for the Streit commission.xxviii In other Brassxxix and Viggiano drawingsxxx watermarks differ as does paper; if the drawings were originally bound together, as it is reasonable to assume, they clearly represent only a small portion of what must have been about ten different sketchbooks that were subsequently unbound.xxxi Five sheets bear autograph writings by Canaletto, while all have various types of numbering in pen or pencil, mostly on the verso, which, except for the numbers that indicate the repetition of the architectural motifs, are not in his hand. It is interesting to note that the only numbers written in pen on the verso (730, 756, 757) correspond to the legend “Canaletto, Venez” on the recto, written with the same pen and ink;xxxii a similar pen numbering, albeit not accompanied by the name of the artist, has been observed on the drawings of Francesco Algarotti, which certainly belonged to the family collection.xxxiii The edges of all the sheets have been trimmed.xxxiv The datings of the drawings, distanced in time and representing different phases in the career of the artist from the 1720s up to 1766,xxxv and their characterisation as preparatory study material, suggest that the entire Corniani-Algarotti nucleus – which may originally have been much largerxxxvi - was part of the artist’s personal collection, possibly conserved in his studio up to his death on 19 April 1768. It is an established fact that his nephew Bernardo Bellotto (Venice 1722 - Warsaw 1780) brought similar working material with him from Venice, conserving it as his graphic repertory and utilising it during his travels through Europe.xxxvii This theory would rule out the hypothesis that the drawings belonged to Count Francesco Algarotti (Venice 1712- Pisa 1764), mentioned for the first time by G. Fiocco (1955),xxxviii sustained by W.G. Constable and subsequently considered a possibility; it would instead favour the idea of purchase by the elder brother of the same, Bonomo Algarotti (Venice 1706-1776), whose significance in the management of family affairs and the interests of Francesco – comprising his art collections – is being increasingly reappraised.xxxix Francesco, a leading Venetian intellectual, one of the most esteemed art connoisseurs on the European eighteenth-century cultural scene, in the service of the King of Poland, Augustus III and of Frederick the Great of Prussia, had dealings with Canaletto from the early 1740s. Bonomo, who was fully integrated in


the Venetian milieu, was party to his brother’s relations and his artistic projects, as illustrated by their correspondence.xl After Francesco’s death he continued the latter’s engagements at the Prussian court;xli he was his brother’s only heir. His activity as a collector and his role in the creation of the famous family gallery are currently being studied, in the wake of the authoritative statement of Gian Antonio Moschini, who confirmed: “moreover the credit for this distinguished collection was not entirely due to Francesco, since both his father Rocco and his brother Count Bonomo both individually had a part in it.”xlii The gallery began to be dispersed after the death of Bonomo, with the publication on the initiative of his daughter, Maria Algarotti in Corniani, of the Catalogo dei quadri dei disegni e dei libri che trattano dell’arte del disegno della galleria del fu Sig. Conte Algarotti. The probable date of the volume is around 1780; from Moschini on, the author has been indicated as Gian Antonio Selva (1753-1819).xliii The historian of Venetian culture also records the collecting activity, devoted to drawings in particular, of Bernardino Corniani degli Algarotti (1771-1855),xliv one of Bonomo’s grandsons, heir to the art collection, painter-restorer, antiquarian and curator of the Gallerie dell’Accademia di Belle Arti; hence he too cannot be ruled out as the possible purchaser of Canaletto’s albums. What is certain is that Bernardino was responsible for the manipulation of the drawings of the various authors, the trimming of the sheets and their arbitrary placing in albums different from the original with a view to rendering them more attractive to potential buyers.xlv In effect, searches for these sheets made in Selva’s catalogue, and in the preceding manuscript inventory drawn up shortly after Bonomo’s death by Giuseppe and Antonio Diziani – in addition to six paintings by Canaletto also comprising nine drawings of views finished in watercolourxlvi – have been to no avail. Nor are they specified in the two catalogues of what remained of the family collection, published by Bernardino in 1840 and in 1854.xlvii It is implausible to imagine that they were part of the fonds defined by the two Diziani and by Selva as “by unknown authors” or that they were among the twenty studies “of architecture”.xlviii However they may well have been among the “very large number of other pictorial drawings by various famous artists gathered in numerous volumes and folders”, precisely those manipulated by Bernardino, originating like other “drawings and pictorial sketches” from the collection of Francesco and Bonomo Algarotti, but mentioned only in the catalogue of 1854.xlix On 16 November 1856, when Otto Mündler visited the Galleria Corniani-Algarotti, which had been transferred from the family residence in the parish of San Canciano to that of Sant’Angelo, among the drawings he notes in his Diario only works by “inferior authors”, Domenico Tiepolo, Pier Luigi Ghezzi, Luca Carlevarijs and Mauro Tesi.l The name of Carlevarijs may have been cited, albeit not necessarily, with reference to the album of 24 sketches of ships which was purchased in 1893 by the Museo Correr in Venice, it too of declared but not certified Corniani-Algarotti provenance.li


Wording on the “wrapper� accompanying the Brass drawings.


6. Santa Marta and the nearby houses, Recto Houses at Santa Marta, Verso, c. 1758 Recto: In the middle distance, behind a rugged slope, a group of buildings, in succession, from the right towards the church on the extreme left; the belfry beside the church. Written in Canaletto’s hand, in pencil and with the same pen and ink as the drawing: on the facade of Santa Marta, “chiesa”, “coto”; on the houses: “Cener.n”, “ce.n” [ashen] “carnad” [fleshy, rosy], “deto? [detto], R°[red], B°” and “B” [white], “4” (indicating the number of windows). At bottom right, in another hand, in brown-grey ink, “Canaletto, Venez”. Verso: The continuation of the row of houses on the recto, proceeding from the corner of a tall house at the right as far as a row of low houses on the left. Written on the houses, in pencil and with the same pen and brown ink: “coto”, “B”, “Zen.n”, “più alta”, “R”. At the bottom, in pen, upside down: “756” (with a different colour of ink, the same as that of the wording on the recto “Canaletto, Venez”). Watermark: oval cartouche with a double border around the letters P A (and below) B (like cat. no. 8). Pen and brown ink over traces of pencil 180 x 283 mm. Provenance: Collection of drawings from the Galleria Corniani-Algarotti, Venice; private collection, Trieste, October 1870; Italico Brass (1870-1943), Venice, 1935; private collection.

Antonio Canal called il Canaletto The Feast of Santa Marta, (detail) 1758-1763. Oil on canvas, 119 x 187 cm. Berlin, Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen, Preussischer Kulturbesitz.


Recto

Verso


The sketch is a preparatory drawing for the The Feast of Santa Marta (Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Preussischer Kulturbesitz), one of the four paintings ordered in Venice after 1758 by Sigismund Streit (1687-1775) for the Gymnasium “Zum Grauen Kloster” in Berlin, where the series was sent shortly after 26 May 1763.1 Canaletto’s client, a prosperous Berlin merchant who had been working between Padua and Venice since 1709, was a collector of modern Venetian paintings, including works by Jacopo Amigoni, Giuseppe Nogari and Francesco Zuccarelli. He also commissioned from an anonymous painter six large canvases portraying the Venetian feasts. His collection, together with the library and the collection of prints, was destined to the school where he had been a pupil.i The choice of the artists and the subjects were dictated by a clearly pedagogical intention. The commission from Canaletto of the four large canvases, which took place in circumstances that are completely unknown, was the most important initiative in Streit’s career as a collector. The choice of the subjects was undoubtedly dictated by the client, although the motivation is clear only in two of the paintings: Venice: the Grand Canal, looking south-east from the Campo Santa Sofia to the Rialto Bridge (see cat. no. 8), where the office-home of Streit appears in the foreground, and Campo di San Giacometto di Rialto, which portrays the old commercial centre of Venice. The other two paintings of the series The Feast of Santa Marta and The Feast of San Pietro di Castello, another illustration of a popular festival, passed into the history of eighteenth-century Venetian art as exceptional night views, Canaletto’s last masterpieces. This is the first of the two sheets, drawn on recto and verso, that comprise all the buildings illustrated in the painting, recording their perspective arrangement along the edge (arzere) of the lagoon; they also study the types and positions of the boats (see cat no. 7). They are diagrammatic drawings, sketched with a soft pen and dark ink with the utmost confidence, complete with wording in black pencil, casually retraced in pen; the sanguine, indicated by E. Schleier,ii is not used here, while it can be detected on the sheet showing Palazzo Foscari in Santa Sofia, formerly Viggiano (see cat. no. 8), preparatory to the view of the Grand Canal in the same Streit series, and presumably part of the same sketchbook, along with cat. no. 7 and cat. no. 8. The four preparatory drawings for two of the Streit canvases are drawn on the same type of paper: white, very fine and finely laid; they are all trimmed along the edges, and two have the same watermark. Neither studies nor figure sketches are known for the other two paintings of the series. Starting from the verso, from the right as far as the left edge shows around half of the row of houses illustrated in the painting; the other half, as far as the church, is shown on the recto. Observing the drawing, W.G. Constable took the verso for the recto, but the wording “Canaletto, Venez” which appears on the sheet is normally on the recto of the Corniani-Algarotti drawings, while the numbering appears on the verso. In the sequence of the houses, probably on account of lack of space on the paper, the tall house with dormer has been omitted, just a corner of it being included on the right-hand margin of the recto; however Canaletto notes it on the verso of cat. no. 7. The painting follows the indications of


the colours and the note referring to one of the houses (taller), which almost doubles its height. These sketches were produced at least thirty years after the famous Album or Quaderno of the Gallerie dell’Accademia. Canaletto’s style in taking up the sketches appears freer and more fluid, sensitive and pictorial in the rendering of the lagoon and the curves of the land, but the methods of working, already established earlier, remain unaltered. His special attention to the setting, the architecture and the lagoon was observed by Sigismund Streit, who in his notes complained that in the painting showing the feast “der Mahler hat sich mehr an die Lanseite gehalten”,iii at the expense of the portrayal of the figures. (B.A.K.)

Literature: W.G. Constable, Four paintings by Antonio Canale in the Gymnasium zum Grauen Kloster, Berlin, in Scritti di storia dell’arte in onore di Lionello Venturi, Roma 1956, p. 91, fig. 9 (recto) and fig. 8 (verso). W.G. Constable, Canaletto. Giovanni Antonio Canal 1697-1768, Oxford 1962, vol. 1, table 113; vol. 2, p. 476, no. 617 and pp. 587-589. V. Moschini, Canaletto, Milano 1963, p. 17, no. 70 and plate 70. L. Puppi, L’opera completa del Canaletto, Milano 1968, p. 110. E. Schleier, in Venedig im 18. Jahrhundert. Bilder aus der Streit’schen Stiftung, catalogue of the exhibition (Gemäldegalerie Berlin-Dahlem, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Preussischer Kulturbesitz, June-September 1974), Berlin 1974, p. 24 (only recto illustrated). W.G. Constable, Canaletto. Giovanni Antonio Canal 1697-1768, Oxford 1976, second edition revised by J.G. Links, vol. 1, table 113; vol. 2, pp. 520-521, no. 617 and pp. 642-646. E. Schleier, in Canaletto. Disegni-dipinti-incisioni, catalogue of the exhibition curated by A. Bettagno (Venice, Fondazione Giorgio Cini, autumn 1982), Vicenza 1982, p. 87. W.G. Constable, Canaletto. Giovanni Antonio Canal 1697-1768, Oxford 1989, second edition revised by J.G. Links, vol. 1, plate 113; vol. 2, pp. 520-521, no. 617 and pp. 642-646. B. Bakker, in Painters of Venice. The Story of the Venetian “veduta”, catalogue of the exhibition curated by B. Aikema and B. Bakker (Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, 15 December 1990 – 10 March 1991), The Hague 1990, p. 168 and p. 170, note 2. N. Hartje, in Blick auf den Canal Grande. Venedig und die Sammlung des Berliner Kaufmanns Sigismund Streit, catalogue of the exhibition curated by N. Hartje, with the collaboration of R. Contini, H. Kreillig and P.P. Rohrlach (Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Preussischer Kulturbesitz, 6 September 2002 – 13 January 2003), Berlin 2002, p. 84 (illustrated). H. Krellig, “Die Streitsche Stiftung”. Un tardo riflesso del mito di Venezia nella Berlino settecentesca, in Presenze tedesche a Venezia, edited by S. Winter, Roma-Venezia 2005, p. 81, note 76. R. Contini, in Canaletto. Venezia e i suoi splendori, catalogue of the exhibition curated by G. Pavanello and A. Craievich (Treviso, Casa dei Carraresi, 23 October 2008 – 5 April 2009), Venezia 2008, p. 271. A. Craievich, in Uno sguardo su Venezia. Canaletto a Miramare, catalogue of the exhibition curated by F. Magani and R. Fabiani (Trieste, Museo Storico del Castello di Miramare, 18 April – 2 August 2009), Cinisello Balsamo 2009, p. 30 and p. 33, note 58.


7. Santa Marta on the edge of the lagoon, Recto Corner house and house with dormer, lagoon with boats, Verso, c. 1758 Recto: To the right and in the centre, the church of Santa Marta close to the edge of the lagoon; on the facade of the church, first in pencil and then with the same pen and ink: “4”, indicating the number of arches; in the apse sections, in pencil and in pen: “B” and “B.°” (white); to the left, the lagoon and the hills in the distance; at the top, the sketch of the edge of the lagoon taken from a closer and higher viewpoint, with the sails of the boats unfurled, nets that are drying, and a vessel. Verso: At the top, sketch of the same edge of the lagoon with sails and nets, framed from a viewpoint shifted towards the right, hills on the horizon; to the right the corner of the house with chimney that appears in a similar position on the verso of cat. no. 6 and a house with dormer; written at top: “R” (red). Pen and brown ink over traces of pencil 175 x 282 mm. Provenance: Collection of drawings from the Galleria Corniani-Algarotti, Venice; private collection, Trieste, October 1870; Italico Brass (1870-1943), Venice, c. 1935; private collection.

Antonio Canal called il Canaletto The Feast of Santa Marta, 1758-1763. Oil on canvas, 119 x 187 cm. Berlin, Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen, Preussischer Kulturbesitz.


Recto

Verso


The sketch is a preparatory drawing for the The Feast of Santa Marta (Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Preussischer Kulturbesitz), one of the four paintings commissioned in Venice after 1758 by Sigismund Streit (1687-1775) for the Gymnasium “Zum Grauen Kloster” in Berlin, where the series was sent shortly after 26 May 1763.i It is a complementary to the sketch showing the houses close to the lagoon as far as the church with belfry (cat. no. 6). The two sheets, which are among the most evocative of Canaletto’s documentary repertory, comprise all the buildings shown in the painting, and study their perspective arrangement along the edge (arzere) of the lagoon, as well as studying the types and positions of the boats. They are diagrammatic drawings, sketched with a soft pen and dark ink with the utmost confidence, complete with wording in black pencil, casually retraced in pen; the sanguine, indicated by E. Schleier,ii is not used here, while it can be detected on the sheet showing Palazzo Foscari in Santa Sofia, formerly Viggiano (see cat. no. 8), preparatory to the view of the Grand Canal in the same Streit series and presumably part of the same sketchbook, along with cat. no. 6 and cat. no. 8. The four preparatory drawings for two of the Streit canvases are drawn on the same type of paper: white, very fine and finely laid; they are all trimmed along the edges, and two have the same watermark. Neither studies nor figure sketches are known for the other two paintings of the series. Canaletto concentrates here on the study of the architectural details of the church, the line of the shore and the arrangement of the boats. Despite an extreme economy of technique, devoid of chiaroscuro details, the drawing very effectively renders the position of the edifice in the space. Santa Marta is a building typical of the Gothic religious architecture of the mid fifteenth century, with a single aisle and a simple gable facade, with the sides marked by pilaster strips linked at the top by double arches. Partially visible on the facade here is a broad portal, but it is not marked on cat. no. 6. As was his habitual practice, Canaletto used a number of drawings of the same place from which he then chose the most congenial solution. In the painting he portrays the portal as in this drawing, but chooses to make the nearby houses lower, as in cat. no. 6, to open up the view of the facade of Santa Marta, interrupted only by the high chimney; he makes the shoreline steeper, introduces boats in different positions and notes the presence, against the profile of the hills, of the island of San Giorgio in Alga. Santa Marta was a district inhabited by poor fishermen, but on the night of the feast of the patron sainte (29 July) it would come to life with joyous crowds of the populace, citizens and patricians taking part in the festivities in illuminated boats or dancing on the edge (arzere) of the lagoon. Today it is one of the most profoundly changed areas of Venice. At the beginning of the nineteenth century a vast infilling of the lagoon was carried out. In 1815 the lagoon coastline, which as shown in this drawing and in Canaletto’s painting formed a bend, was radically altered, creating the space for a military area. The church still exists, but deprived of the belfry and the adjacent convent of the Benedictine nuns. (B.A.K.) Exhibited: Trésors de l’art vénitien, curated by R. Pallucchini, Lausanne, Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts, 1 April – 4 September 1947, Milano-Bruxelles 1947, no. 161 (as «Eglise, maison et barques»).


Literature: R. Pallucchini, Trésors de l’art vénitien, catalogue of the exhibition (Lausanne, Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts, 1 April – 4 September 1947), Milano-Bruxelles 1947, p. 64, no. 161. R. Pallucchini, Opere inedite o poco note alla Mostra “Trésors de l’art vénitien“ di Losanna, “Emporium”, vol. CV, no. 629, May 1947, p. 242. W.G. Constable, Four paintings by Antonio Canale in the Gymnasium zum Grauen Kloster, Berlin, in Scritti di storia dell’arte in onore di Lionello Venturi, Roma 1956, vol. 2, p. 91 and fig. 10 (recto only). W.G. Constable, Canaletto. Giovanni Antonio Canal 1697-1768, Oxford 1962, vol. 1, plate 113; vol. 2, p. 476, no. 618 and pp. 587-589. V. Moschini, Canaletto, Milano 1963, p. 17, no. 69 and plate 69. E. Schleier, in Venedig im 18. Jahrhundert. Bilder aus der Streit’schen Stiftung, catalogue of the exhibition (Gemäldegalerie BerlinDahlem, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Preussischer Kulturbesitz, June –September 1974), Berlin 1974, p. 24 (recto only illustrated). W.G. Constable, Canaletto. Giovanni Antonio Canal 1697-1768, Oxford 1976, second edition revised by J.G. Links, vol. 1, plate 113; vol. 2, pp. 520-521, no. 618 and pp. 642-646. E. Schleier, in Canaletto. Disegni-dipinti-incisioni, catalogue of the exhibition curated by A. Bettagno (Venice, Fondazione Giorgio Cini, autumn 1982), Vicenza 1982, p. 87. W.G. Constable, Canaletto. Giovanni Antonio Canal 1697-1768, Oxford 1989, second edition revised by J.G. Links, vol. 1, plate 113; vol. 2, pp. 520-521, no. 618 and pp. 642-646. B. Bakker, in Painters of Venice. The Story of the Venetian “veduta”, catalogue of the exhibition curated by B. Aikema and B. Bakker (Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, 15 December 1990 – 10 March 1991), The Hague 1990, p. 168 and p. 170, note 2. N. Hartje, in Blick auf den Canal Grande. Venedig und die Sammlung des Berliner Kaufmanns Sigismund Streit, catalogue of the exhibition curated by N. Hartje, with the collaboration of R. Contini, H. Kreillig and P.P. Rohrlach (Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Preussischer Kulturbesitz, 6 September 2002 – 13 January 2003), Berlin 2002, p. 84 (recto only illustrated). H. Krellig, “Die Streitsche Stiftung”. Un tardo riflesso del mito di Venezia nella Berlino settecentesca, in Presenze tedesche a Venezia, edited by S. Winter, Roma-Venezia 2005, p. 81, note 76. R. Contini, in Canaletto. Venezia e i suoi splendori, catalogue of the exhibition curated by G. Pavanello and A. Craievich (Treviso, Casa dei Carraresi, 23 October 2008 – 5 April 2009), Venezia 2008, p. 271. A. Craievich, in Uno sguardo su Venezia. Canaletto a Miramare, catalogue of the exhibition curated by F. Magani and R. Fabiani (Trieste, Museo Storico del Castello di Miramare, 18 April – 2 August 2009), Cinisello Balsamo 2009, p. 30 and p. 33, note 58.

Detail of recto


8. Venice, the Grand Canal: house in the vicinity of Palazzo Foscari and Palazzo Michiel dalle Colonne, Recto The Grand Canal with the Fabbriche Nuove of Rialto and the corner of the Fondaco dei Tedeschi, Verso, c.1758 Recto: In the foreground the house close to Palazzo Foscari, which no longer exists, on three floors, slightly in perspective, with a small courtyard separated by a wall with two windows and a door; on all the walls, in pencil and then with the same pen and ink, the letter: “B” [white]; behind, the lateral facade of Palazzo Michiel dalle Colonne, with a part of the terrace overlooking the Grand Canal, inscribed “Zene.n. Scur°”, “Ca’ de Dui (?)”. Behind, to the left, two tall houses with the wordings: “Smit.” and “Rosso/lion bianco”. At bottom right, close to the edge, in pen and brown-grey ink (different from that of the drawing): “Canaletto, Venez”. Verso: The facade of the Fabbriche Nuove di Rialto overlooking the Grand Canal and a bay of the side overlooking the Rialto market, towards the Pescheria; the wording, in pen and the same ink: “fabriche”; on the left, the corner of the Fondaco dei Tedeschi bearing the word: “todeschi”; at the top, in pencil: “Schizzo raro ed originale, di Ant: Canal, detto il Canaletto.”/15 V (?); at bottom right, in pencil, “3”; in the centre, in pencil: “24”. Watermark: oval cartouche with a double ornamental border around the letters P A (and below) B (like cat. no. 6). Pen and brown ink over traces of pencil 262 x 193 mm. Provenance: Collection of drawings from the Galleria Corniani-Algarotti, Venice; private collection, Trieste, October 1870; Italico Brass (1870-1943), Venice, 1935; private collection.

Antonio Canal called il Canaletto, Venice: The Grand Canal, looking south-east from the Campo Santa Sophia to the Rialto Bridge, 1758-1763, oil on canvas, 118 x 188 cm. Berlin, Gemaldegalerie, Staatliche Museen, Preussischer Kulturbesitz.



This sketch is recognised here for the first time as a preparatory drawing for the painting Venice: The Grand Canal, looking South-East from the Campo Santa Sophia to the Rialto Bridge (Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Preussischer Kulturbesitz), one of the four commissioned in Venice after 1758 by Sigismund Streit (1687-1775) for the Gymnasium “Zum Grauen Kloster” in Berlin, where the series was sent shortly after 26 May 1763.i The sketch shows the part of the Grand Canal after that portrayed in the sheet Palazzo Foscari a Santa Sofia, formerly Corniani-Algarotti and Viggiano, now Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica, Trieste;ii the small wall that appears on this sheet at lower left with the letter “B” is shown close to the right edge of the Trieste drawing, an acknowledged graphic emblem of the Streit series, since Palazzo Foscari was the Venetian headquarters of the wealthy merchant and collector; there is also a part of the three-storied house and the side of Palazzo Michiel dalle Colonne, remodernised in 1697 by Antonio Gaspari, with the wording “zen.n Scu…”, as in this sheet. Both the drawings are clearly trimmed, so that the measurements cannot be compared. The comparative study of the paper and the watermarks of these two drawings and of another two sheets from the same collection, preparatory studies for another of the Streit paintings, The Feast of Santa Marta (cat. nos. 6 and 7), suggests that all four sheets, drawn on both sides, belonged to the same sketchbook; in any case they were certainly produced at times very close to each other, as indicated by the use of a similar thick pen and dark ink. The technique is identical, distinguished by a distinctly confident touch, even in the legends in pen casually retracing the earlier wording in pencil. The three-storied house, close to Palazzo Foscari in the Streit painting, is executed in line with the chromatic details of this drawing; the side of Palazzo Michiel dalle Colonne is complete with several windows, as in the drawing with Palazzo Foscari, but only here is the dormer marked; evidently Canaletto utilised both the drawings. The non-identification of the subject of this drawing and its relationship with the Streit series is probably due to the misleading inclusion, behind the buildings in the foreground, of the profiles of three palazzi overlooking the Grand Canal, the first on the left being indicated as “Smit” (the house of the Consul Smith, now Palazzo Mangilli-Valmarana in Santi Apostoli) and the third as “Lion Bianco” (a famous hotel of this name was located in the famous Venetian-Byzantine house, Ca’ da Mosto). W.G. Constable, in effect, proposes an improbable solution, claiming that “Apparently, the view is from the Corte del Leon Bianco before its reconstruction”. In actual fact, Canaletto sketched at the foot of the sheet the sequence and the perspective of the three palazzi on the Grand Canal as they appear in the painting. This type of note is not surprising to those who are familiar with the artist’s working procedure, as it can be deduced from the drawings in the Album of the Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice.iii


There has also been failure to recognise the sketch on the verso, which probably represents an initial drawing for the right-hand part of the painting. W. G. Constable defines the Fabbriche Nuove, shown from a viewpoint close to the right bank, as “a building in three stories, inscribed, fabriche�. The side of the Fondaco dei Tedeschi towards the Ponte di Rialto may appear, as in this sketch, close to the extremity of the Fabbriche Nuove, but in the painting Canaletto has chosen to shift the viewpoint towards the left, to enlarge the space between the two buildings and show a part of the bridge. The view of Palazzo Foscari, executed for Sigismund Streit, is the only south-east view in Canaletto’s repertory. There are other paintings that show the same portion of the Grand Canal, but in the opposite direction, looking north-west; the house shown on the recto of this drawing, with a wall in front bordering a small courtyard, appears to be almost completely concealed by Palazzo Michiel dalle Colonne, behind an uneven wall, which only in the Streit painting appears as rebuilt or just reconstructed. (B.A.K.) Literature: W.G. Constable, Canaletto. Giovanni Antonio Canal 1697-1768, Oxford 1962, vol. 1, plates 108 and 215; vol. 2, p. 467, no. 595 and pp. 587-589. W.G. Constable, Canaletto. Giovanni Antonio Canal 1697-1768, Oxford 1976, second edition revised by J.G. Links, vol. 1, plates 108 and 215; vol. 2, pp. 510-511, no. 595 and pp. 642-646. W.G. Constable, Canaletto. Giovanni Antonio Canal 1697-1768, Oxford 1989, second edition revised and enlarged by J.G. Links, vol. 1, plates 108 and 215; vol. 2, pp. 510-511, no. 595 and pp. 642-646.

Verso


9. Venice: Piazza San Marco looking south-east, 1740-1743 Recto: To the left and in the centre the upper part of the facade of the Basilica of San Marco; to the right the Palazzo Ducale, the column of San Marco and the island of San Giorgio; in the right part the three flag masts. Written in Canaletto’s hand, at the top, above the Palazzo Ducale, in brown ink (the same as the drawing: “Veduta della piaza in faza la chiesa di S. Marco”. Verso: At top left, in pencil, underlined in pencil with ruler: “Schizzo raro e originale, di Ant: Canal, detto il Canaletto.” Below, in brackets, in pencil: “15V”(?); along the left-hand margin, slightly trimmed, in brown ink: “730”; in the centre, close to a vertical fold, in pencil: “18”; at bottom right, in pencil: “8”. Watermark: two crossed keys. A vertical fold, not precisely in the centre. Pen and brown ink 142 x 285 mm. Provenance: Collection of drawings from the Galleria Corniani-Algarotti, Venice; private collection, Trieste, October 1870; Italico Brass (1870-1943), Venice, c. 1935; private collection.

Antonio Canal called il Canaletto Venezia, Piazza S.Marco, 1742-1743. Oil on canvas, 114.6 x 153 cm. Washington, National Gallery of Art.



This drawing, a study of the alternation of light and shade on the facades of San Marco and of the Palazzo Ducale, sketched with an impetuous and very swift touch, is recognised as a preparatory drawing for the painting Piazza San Marco looking south-east, executed in 1742-1743 for Henry Howard, IV Earl of Carlisle and sent from Venice to Castle Howard, Yorkshire, before 1745, together with the pendant piece Entrance to the Grand Canal from the western side of the Molo (National Gallery of Art, Washington DC).i According to W.G. Constable it corresponds to the painting “closely, except for the position of the masts”. There is a viewpoint in the Piazza, nor distant from the Basilica and to the left of the central axis of the facade, from which it is possible to see a similar alignment of the buildings and the flag masts, with the island of San Giorgio Maggiore in the distance. In the painting the viewpoint is further back, shifted to the right and slightly raised; as a result the Palazzo Ducale appears taller than in the drawing, the flag masts are shown in the central part of the view and the island of San Giorgio is no longer visible. However the principal function of the drawing, that of a study in light, has been followed in the thickening of the darkness in the arches of the basilica at dusk, in the shadow cast by the campanile of San Marco on the corner arcade towards the Piazzetta and on the first bay of the upper order. W.G. Constable also notes the relation of the sketch to a drawing in the Royal Collection for which it “may have served as a basis”.ii This is possible but is not necessarily the case: in the Royal Collection drawing, dating to around 1740, the alignment of the monuments is similar, albeit less elusive, but the upper order of the basilica is in full light. There are few drawings of this kind in Canaletto’s repertory, “impressions”, which in addition to recording precise situations of light, also establish compositional layouts. More numerous instead are studies made after the elaboration of the subject, sketches developed in the studio. Among the drawings similar to this, rapid sketches executed en plein air, complete with chiaroscuro details, some glossed by Canaletto at the top, as in this sheet, with details of the place, we should mention the View of the Molo, looking west, with the fish market, Philadelphia Museum of Art;iii Entrance to the Grand Canal from the Molo, and La Loggetta, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford,iv La Piazzetta, looking south (1729), Kunstmuseum, Basle,v Piazza San Marco and the Piazzetta, Venice, Gallerie dell’Accademia (the latter defined by G. Nepi Scirè as “possibly the finest drawing in the Quaderno”).vi (B.A.K.) Exhibited: Trésors de l’art vénitien, curated by R. Pallucchini, Lausanne, Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts, 1 April – 4 September 1947, Milano-Bruxelles 1947, no. 158.


Literature: R. Pallucchini, Canaletto e Guardi, Novara 1941, plate XI a. R. Pallucchini, Trésors de l’art vénitien, catalogue of the exhibition (Lausanne, Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts), Milano-Bruxelles 1947, p. 64, no. 158, plate LXXX. R. Pallucchini, Opere inedite o poco note alla Mostra “Trésors de l’art vénitien“ di Losanna, “Emporium”, vol. CV, no. 629, May 1947, p. 242. V. Moschini, Canaletto, Milano 1954, plate 144. W.G. Constable, Canaletto. Giovanni Antonio Canal 1697-1768, Oxford 1962, vol. 1, plate 97, vol. 2, p. 444, no. 536. G.M. Pilo, Canaletto, London 1962, pp. 50 and 88. L. Puppi, L’opera completa del Canaletto, Milano 1968, p. 103. T. Pignatti, Canaletto. Disegni, Firenze 1970, plate XVI. W.G. Constable, Canaletto. Giovanni Antonio Canal 1697-1768, Oxford 1976, second edition, revised by J.G. Links, vol. 1, plate 97; vol. 2, p. 485, no. 536 and pp. 642-646. F.R. Shapley, Catalogue of the Italian Paintings. National Gallery of Art, Washington, Washington 1979, vol. 1, p. 102. J.B. Shaw, in Canaletto. Disegni-dipinti-incisioni, catalogue of the exhibition curated by A. Bettagno (Venice, Fondazione Giorgio Cini), Vicenza 1982, p. 62. B.A. Kowalczyk, I disegni italiani di Bellotto 1735-1747, degree thesis, Università di Venezia, 1988, p. II-94. W.G. Constable, Canaletto. Giovanni Antonio Canal 1697-1768, Oxford 1989, second edition, revised and enlarged by J.G. Links, vol. 1, plate 97; vol. 2, p. 485, no. 536 and pp. 642-646. E.P. Bowron, in D. De Grazia and E. Garberson, with E. P. Bowron, P. M. Lukehart, and M. Merling, Italian Paintings of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue, Washington, D.C., 1996, p. 28 and p. 30, note 13.


10. Venice: Scuola Grande di San Marco, c. 1739 Recto: The upper section of the three western bays of the facade seen from the front; only the base of the statue that crowns the central arch is visible, a fragment of the arch of the main portal with the figure of Charity is shown at the bottom; Verso: in black chalk, sketches of the facade of a church. Wording, in black pencil: “Schizzo raro e originale, di Ant: Canal, detto il Canaletto.” /“v 6 v” (?); in the lower right-hand corner, in pencil: “9”. The sheet shows signs of various foldings: two almost horizontal at the top, another vertical approximately 122 mm.from the left edge. Pen and brown ink 185 x 205 mm. Provenance: Collection of drawings from the Galleria Corniani-Algarotti, Venice; private collection, Trieste, October 1870; Italico Brass (1870-1943), Venice, 1935; private collection.

Antonio Canal called il Canaletto Campo Santi Giovanni e Paolo, 1739-1740. Oil on canvas, 47 x 78 cm., Private collection © Christie’s Images Limited 2000


Recto

Verso


The Scuola Grande di San Marco was one of the six leading confraternities or corporations of Venice. After it was suppressed by Napoleon, it became the main hospital of the city. The facade, which was begun in 1485 to a design by Pietro Lombardo, is one of the gems of the early Renaissance; in the nineties the upper section and the arched crown, as shown in this drawing and in cat. no. 11, were designed by Mauro Codussi. Corresponding to this part of the facade is the Salon of the scuola. The delicate marble facade captured Canaletto’s interest from his youth. Around 1725 the artist executed a series of spacious, scenographic views of Campo Santi Giovanni e Paolo, with the austere red-brick pile of the Dominican basilica and the monument to the condottiere Bartolomeo Colleoni, in which the Scuola di San Marco is the fulcrum of the composition (Gemäldegalerie, Dresden, Pinacoteca Agnelli, Turin and Galerie d’Art de la Ville de Luxembourg).i In each painting, as was his habitual practice, Canaletto altered the height of the spires, the dimensions of the marble cladding above the central portal, the appearance of the Lion of San Marco, the mode of portraying the details of the sculptural decoration, albeit always based on sketches executed on site. Yet another interpretation appears in a small canvas of the sixties, in vertical format, from the Colección Carmen-Thyssen Bornemisza, which shows only the western part of the facade: the first floor of the building is reduced in height and the decoration is clearly stylised.ii We can assume that when he took up the sketches from life, Canaletto deliberately elaborated the individual elements of the composition depending on the type of representation that he intended to produce. This sketch, executed rapidly but with a sure hand, defined as “aerial” by R. Pallucchini,iii devoid of chiaroscuro indications, faithfully records the proportions and the position in space of the principal part of the facade, synthesising in simple curls the statues in the niches and on the pinnacles; the marble decoration of the tympana of the windows is condensed in simple geometrical lines. These indications are followed in a painting in the series of four purchased or commissioned by Thomas Brand of Hoo, Kimpton, Hertfordshire (1717-1770), during his trip to Venice in 1739-1740;iv the recent appearance of this painting on the art market has made it possible to discern its relationship with this sketch, in terms of the proportions and the mode of synthesising the details and the similarly flattened outline of the Lion of San Marco with its long tail. In the sketch the statue of Charity by Bartolomeo Bon is lower; in the painting its height is corrected. The dating of the sketch can be established as around 1739; the only author who has so far proposed a dating, V. Moschini (1963), places it in the mid-thirties at the latest. A drawing of the Campo, finished in hatching, made for the Consul Smith probably around 1740, shows the facade of the scuola in the same proportions as this sketch, while considerably simplifying the decorative details and rendering the tympana of the windows pointed.v A drawing of the site and two known paintings by Bellotto appear to be executed in an autonomous manner.vi Thomas Brand’s view of Campo Santi Giovanni e Paolo was destined to be engraved by Antonio Visentini in the second series of the Prospectus Magni Canalis Venetiarum; in effect two preparatory


drawings for the etching, in outline and finished in hatching, are conserved (Museo Correr, Venice and British Museum, London),vii but the view of the campo selected for the engraving is that taken from opposite the facade of the basilica, belonging to the collection of Consul Smith.viii This sketch was displayed at the exhibition in Lausanne in the group of five Brass drawings; the catalogue indicates measurements (190 x 200 mm.) that are inaccurate, while W.G. Constable refers to the two sketches of the Scuola di San Marco on display and cites the catalogue number erroneously. (B.A.K.) Exhibited: Trésors de l’art vénitien, curated by R. Pallucchini Lausanne, Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts, 1 April – 4 September 1947), Milano-Bruxelles 1947, no. 162. Literature: R. Pallucchini, Trésors de l’art vénitien, catalogue of the exhibition (Lausanne, Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts), MilanoBruxelles 1947, p. 64, no. 162. R. Pallucchini, Opere inedite o poco note alla Mostra “Trésors de l’art vénitien“ di Losanna, “Emporium”, vol. CV, no. 629, Maggio 1947, p. 242. W.G. Constable, Canaletto. Giovanni Antonio Canal 1697-1768, Oxford 1962, vol. 1, plate 114; vol. 2, pp. 478-479, no. 624 (a) and pp. 587-589. V. Moschini, Canaletto, Milano 1963, p. 14, no. 21 and plate 21. W.G. Constable, Canaletto. Giovanni Antonio Canal 1697-1768, Oxford 1976, second edition, revised by J.G. Links, vol. 1, plate 114; vol. 2, p. 523, no. 624 (a) and pp. 642-646. W.G. Constable, Canaletto. Giovanni Antonio Canal 1697-1768, Oxford 1989, second edition, revised and enlarged by J.G. Links, vol. 1, plate 114; vol. 2, p. 523, no. 624 (a) and pp. 642-646.

Detail of the painting


11. Venice: Scuola Grande di San Marco, c. 1739 Recto: The upper section of the three eastern bays of the facade. Verso: Sketch in black chalk of a boat, with a small figure at the helm, on a Venetian canal lined on the left by houses shown in perspective. Written in pencil at the top: “Schizzo raro e originale, di Ant: Canal, detto il Canaletto” / “v2v (? ) inside curly brackets; at the bottom, close to the fold, “30”; in the right-hand corner: “8”. A vertical fold 122 mm.from the left edge. Pen and brown ink 171 x 205 mm. Provenance: Collection of drawings from the Galleria Corniani-Algarotti, Venice; private collection, Trieste, October 1870; Italico Brass (1870-1943), Venice, 1935; private collection.

This sketch is complementary to cat no. 10; together they portray all six bays of the facade of the Scuola Grande di San Marco. It is executed on a slightly larger scale, like a zoom effect: it comprises the windows in their entirety and the architrave that marks off the ground floor. The use of the same paper, pen and ink suggests the simultaneous execution and drafting on successive pages of the same sketchbook, although the progressive numbering in pencil on the versos is posterior. Here the stroke is even more swift and synthetic, but equally effective in recording notes on the shape of the tympana, capitals and other elements of the decoration. We can assume that this sketch too was taken up for the view of the Campo Santi Giovanni e Paolo, executed for Thomas Brand of Hoo in 1739-1740, in the series of four views of Venice which subsequently passed into the collection of Viscount Hampden.i

Literature: W.G. Constable, Canaletto. Giovanni Antonio Canal 1697-1768, Oxford 1962, vol. 1, plate 114; vol. 2, pp. 478-479, no. 624 (b) and pp. 587-589. W.G. Constable, Canaletto. Giovanni Antonio Canal 1697-1768, Oxford 1976, second edition, revised by J.G. Links, vol. 1, plate 114; vol. 2, p. 523, no. 624 (b) and pp. 642-646. W.G. Constable, Canaletto. Giovanni Antonio Canal 1697-1768, Oxford 1989, second edition, revised and enlarged by J.G. Links, vol. 1, plate 114; vol. 2, p. 523, no. 624 (b) and pp. 642-646.


Recto


12. Capriccio: a colonnade in ruins at the edge of the sea, c. 1765 Recto: Two arches of a ruined colonnade extend along the sheet in the middle distance; under the left-hand arch a tomb with a sarcophagus; a small house at the feet of the column; beneath the righthand arch the prow of a ship and framework scaffolding on which a small figure is working with a hammer; the sea in the distance; at lower right, the wording in pencil (upside down) “grando come”. Verso: in pencil, “Schizzo raro e originale, di Ant: Canal, detto il Canaletto.” / I:to (?) (in brackets); above, in pen and ink, upside down: “757”; in the middle, rotated 180°, in pencil: “20”; in the lower right-hand corner, in pencil: “5”. Light sketches of capriccio arches in the right-hand part. Watermark: letters A and S. Pen and brown ink over traces of pencil 185 x 275 mm. Provenance: Collection of drawings from the Galleria Corniani-Algarotti, Venice; private collection, Trieste, October 1870; Italico Brass (1870-1943), Venice, 1935; private collection.

There are, in Canaletto’s repertory, drawings very similar to this one, executed using the same technique of just outlines or with a hint of hatching, featuring similar motifs, arches in ruins - mostly arranged as in this drawing, in the middle distance, with other architectural motifs in the apertures – abandoned tombs, bridges, the sea or the lagoon; they are entirely imaginative landscapes, with small solitary figures, some of them preparatory to drawings finished in watercolour, others without any follow-up. Four of them – drawn on two sheets, on the recto and the verso – preserved in the Weimar Museum, were published by A. Binion in 1976, who hypothesised the provenance from the same CornianiAlgarotti collection;i another two known similar drawings belong to the Moravskà Galerie, Brnoii and the Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, Mass.iii The two Weimar sketches are preparatory studies for the drawings finished in watercolour in the British Museum (Imaginary composition: ruins and a bridge by the Lagoon), and the Victoria and Albert Museum, A church on a hill, the Lagoon in the distance, some of the most brilliant graphic achievements of Canaletto’s last period.iv We can assume that some of the late watercolour capricci with the same motifs were preceded by similar preparatory sketches: an example could be the Capriccio: a pavilion and a ruined arcade, sold at Sotheby’s, 27 January 2010, lot 74.v The motif of the ship, the squero (shipyard) as it is defined by V. Moschini (1963), with a small figure working on the prow, is entirely original and gives the image, rendered with rare fluidity and freedom of touch (R. Pallucchini), a striking poetic dimension. The late date of execution, indicated by the quality of the style (V. Moschini 1963), is confirmed by the fact that the aforementioned Victoria and Albert Museum sheet, preceded by the Weimar sketch,



was engraved by Fabio Berardi (1728-1788) not before 1755, the date of Canaletto’s return from England.vi Nevertheless, a similar watermark appears in the drawings of Giambattista Tiepolo connected with commissions in the mid-forties.vii (BAK) Exhibited: Trésors de l’art vénitien, curated by R. Pallucchini (Lausanne, Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts, 1 April – 4 September 1947), Milano-Bruxelles 1947, no. 159. Literature: R. Pallucchini, Trésors de l’art vénitien, catalogue of the exhibition (Lausanne, Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts, 1 April – 4 September 1947), Milano-Bruxelles 1947, p. 64, no. 159. R. Pallucchini, Opere inedite o poco note alla Mostra “Trésors de l’art vénitien“ di Losanna, “Emporium”, vol. CV, no. 629, May 1947, p. 242, fig. 12. W.G. Constable, Canaletto. Giovanni Antonio Canal 1697-1768, Oxford 1962, vol. 1, plate 153; vol. 2, p. 476, no. 813 and pp. 587-589. V. Moschini, Canaletto, Milano 1963, p. 17, no. 61 and plate 61. W.G. Constable, Canaletto. Giovanni Antonio Canal 1697-1768, Oxford 1976, second edition revised by J.G. Links, vol. 1, table 153; vol. 2, p. 604, no. 813 and pp. 642-646. A. Corboz, Canaletto. Una Venezia immaginaria, Milano 1985, vol. 2, p. 762, no. D 190. W.G. Constable, Canaletto. Giovanni Antonio Canal 1697-1768, Oxford 1989, second edition revised by J.G. Links, vol. 1, plate 113; vol. 2, p. 604, no. 618 and pp. 642-646.

Detail


Footnotes: i

ii

iii

iv

v vi

vii

viii

ix

On this type of drawing, see: T. Pignatti, Il quaderno di disegni del Canaletto alle Gallerie di Venezia, Milano 1958; G. Nepi Scirè, Il quaderno di Canaletto, Venezia 1997). Similar architectural drawings, loose and numbered, traditionally considered to be by Canaletto, have recently been attributed to Bellotto, as have the figure studies on sheets numbered in the same manner (see, B.A. Kowalczyk, La formazione di uno stile originale, in Bernardo Bellotto 1722-1780, catalogue of the exhibition curated by B.A. Kowalczyk and M. Da Cortà Fumei (Venice, Museo Correr, 10 February – 27 June 2001), Milano 2001, p. 12, note 4 (English edition edited by E.P. Bowron, Milano-New Haven 2001, p. 12, note 5); C. Beddington, Bernardo Bellotto and his Circle in Italy. Part I: not Canaletto but Bellotto, “The Burlington Magazine”, 1219, October 2004, pp. 670-671; B.A. Kowalczyk, Canaletto: il trionfo della veduta, catalogue of the exhibition (Rome, Palazzo Giustiniani, 13 March – 19 June 2005, pp. 202-213, nos. 50-54); for the documentary sketches elaborated in the studio, see F.J.B. Watson, Some unpublished Canaletto drawings of London, “The Burlington Magazine”, 572, November 1950, pp. 316-318. For the initial description of the Corniani-Algarotti nucleus, see W.G. Constable, Canaletto. Giovanni Antonio Canal 16971768, Oxford 1962, vol. 2, pp. 586-589; in the subsequent editions, revised and updated by J.G. Links (1976 and 1989), this chapter is considerably expanded (pp. 641-646). The 1989 edition is cited hereinafter as C/L. The wording reads: No: 34 [?][crossed out; corrected above as “16”; crossed out and corrected as “14.”] “schizzi, rari, che appartenevano alla galleria Corniani Algarotti in Venezia, riconosciuti per originali per confronti fatti al Museo Correr, a penna, del celebre Antonio Canal, detto il Canaletto, pittore prospettico veneziano, del secolo scorso, che servivano alla compilazione dei vari suoi quadri, e di questi alcuni sono incisi”. (“sketches, rare, which belonged to the Galleria Corniani Algarotti in Venice, identified as originals by comparisons made at the Museo Correr, in pen, by the celebrated Antonio Canal, known as Canaletto, a Venetian perspective painter, of the last century, which served for the compilation of various paintings of his, some of them engravings”). M. – Detti schizzi, sono in parte corredati di note autografe dell’autore. (The said sketches are partially accompanied by autobiographical notes by the author). Costi F. 22 [cancellato] 18. (Costs F. 22 [crossed out] 18). Stimato F.chi 250. Trieste, in Ottobre 1870 (Estimated Francs 250. Trieste, in October 1870). [Illegible signature]. The signature has been deciphered by T. Miotti (T. Miotti, Tre disegni inediti del Canaletto, “Arte Veneta”, XX, 1966, p. 275) as “possibly Antonio Battistella”, a name not to be found among the Trieste collectors or antiquarians of the time. The writer agrees with the reading of the name but not with that of the surname. The second uncertain element relates to the number of the drawings. The reading of “34” as always indicated by T. Miotti (T. Miotti, Tre disegni inediti … op. cit., p. 275), may be correct, but it could also be a “14”, first crossed out and then confirmed in a different hand. The comparisons made at the Museo Correr can refer only to a single drawing by Canaletto in the Venetian collection: Quattro schizzi architettonici, a preparatory study for the painting for admission to the Accademia in 1763 (C/L 626; T. Pignatti, Disegni antichi del Museo Correr di Venezia, Vicenza 1980, pp. 84-85, no. 57. See: T. Miotti, Tre disegni inediti … op. cit., pp. 276-278; A. Bettagno, Canaletto. Disegni – dipinti – incisioni, catalogue of the exhibition (Venice, Fondazione Giorgio Cini, autumn 1982), Vicenza 1982, pp. 45-46, nos. 42, 46, 47. Lugt Suppl. 191 a. For Italico Brass, see: E. Pound, Per Italico Brass, in Venezia 1908: Ezra Pound e Italico Brass, edited by R. Mamoli Zorzi, Mariano del Friuli 2004, pp. 14-17; A. Brass, Italico Brass e le feste veneziane, in Venezia 1908... op. cit., pp. 95-114; A. Morandotti, Italico Brass, pittore, conoscitore e mercante nell’età di Giuseppe Fiocco, in Genova e il collezionismo nel Novecento: studi nel centenario di Angelo Costa (1901-1976), edited by A. Orlando, Torino 2001, pp. 241-250; Italico Brass, catalogue of the exhibition curated by M. Masau Dan (Castello di Gorizia, 6 July – 22 September 1991), Milano 1991. Attached to the seven Brass drawings presented here there is now only an old photograph of the legend alone. The fact that this is copied on the Viggiano wrapper would suggest that the legend accompanying the Brass drawings too was applied to a similar card folded to contain the sheets (see note 9); the Brass wrapper is also discussed by T. Miotti (T. Miotti, Tre disegni inediti… op. cit., p. 275). The confirmation of the declared number of the Viggiano drawings is from F.J.B. Watson, Some unpublished Canaletto drawings … op. cit., p. 316. The wording runs: “18 Schizzi - rari – che appartenevano alla Galleria Corniani Algarotti di Venezia, riconosciuti per originali per confronti fatti al Museo Correr, – a penna del celebre Antonio Canal, detto il Canaletto pittore prospettico veneziano, del Secolo scorso, che servivano alla compilazione di vari suoi quadri, e di questi alcuni sono incisi. - I suddetti schizzi, sono in parte corredati di note autografe dell’autore e furono stimati franchi 250”. (“18 Sketches – rare - which belonged to the Galleria Corniani Algarotti in Venice, identified as originals by comparisons made at the Museo Correr, - in pen by the celebrated Antonio Canal, known as Canaletto a Venetian perspective painter, of the last century, which served for the compilation of various paintings of his, some of them engravings.- The aforesaid sketches, are partially accompanied by autobiographical notes by the author and were estimated at 250 francs”).


x

For the history of the acquisition see G. Nepi Scirè, Gallerie dell’Accademia a Venezia. Storia della collezione di disegni, Milano 1982, p. 24, no. 185. xi For the description of the drawings and their history see: A. Craievich, in La Galleria Nazionale di Arte Antica di Trieste, dipinti e disegni, Cinisello Balsamo 2001, pp. 117-123, cat. 66; A. Craievich, I disegni di Canaletto nella Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica di Trieste, in Uno sguardo su Venezia. Canaletto a Miramare, catalogue edited by F. Magani and R. Fabiani (Museo Storico del Castello di Miramare), Cinisello Balsamo 2009, pp. 18-33. xii G. Fiocco, Cento antichi disegni veneziani, catalogue of the exhibition (Venice, Fondazione Giorgio Cini), Vicenza 1955, p. 28, no. 72; A. Craievich, in I disegni del professore: la raccolta Giuseppe Fiocco della Fondazione Giorgio Cini, catalogue of the exhibition curated by G. Pavanello (Padua, Musei Civici agli Eremitani, 8 May – 24 July 2005), Venezia 2005, pp. 250-251, no. 409. xiii M. Muraro, I disegni veneti della collezione Janos Scholz, catalogue of the exhibition (Venice, Fondazione Giorgio Cini, autumn 1957), Vicenza 1957. xiv A. Morassi, Disegni Veneti del Settecento nella collezione Paul Wallraf, catalogue of the exhibition (Venice, Fondazione Giorgio Cini), Vicenza 1959, p. 14, no. 3. xv C/L 655 and 656; see, B.A. Kowalczyk, Canaletto prima maniera, catalogue of the exhibition (Venice, Fondazione Giorgio Cini, 18 March – 19 June 2001), Milano 2001, p. 144, no. 53 and p. 146, no. 54. xvi G. Nepi Scirè, in Da Leonardo a Canaletto : disegni delle Gallerie dell’Accademia, catalogue of the exhibition curated by G. Nepi Scirè and A. Perissa Torrini (Venice, Gallerie dell’Accademia), Milano 1999, pp. 240-255, nos. 95- 102; A. Craievich, in La Galleria Nazionale… , op. cit., pp. 117-123, cat. 66; A. Craievich, I disegni di Canaletto… op. cit., pp. 18-33. xvii C/L 560 and 561; the former, now in the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, is a preparatory sketch for the drawing San Marco: Crossing and North Transept, with Musicians Singing, Hamburg, Kunsthalle (C/L 558); the latter, in the Robert Lehman Collection, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, refers to the paintings of the Interior of San Marco, Musée des Beaux Arts, Montreal and Royal Collection, Windsor Castle (C/L 79 and 78). xviii C/L 610, 615 and 777 (b). xix C/L 368; see, B.A. Kowalczyk, Canaletto prima maniera… op. cit, p. 144, no. 53. xx C/L 368*; see, B.A. Kowalczyk, Canaletto prima maniera… op. cit, p. 146, no. 54. xxi C/L 50 and 154; see also B.A. Kowalczyk, Canaletto: il trionfo della veduta, catalogue of the exhibition (Rome, Palazzo Giustiniani, 11 March- 19 June 2005), Cinisello Balsamo, pp. 194-201, nos. 48 and 49. xxii D. Succi, Bernardo Bellotto detto il Canaletto, catalogue of the exhibition (Mirano, Barchessa di Villa Morosini), Venezia 1999, pp. 66-67 xxiii T. Pignatti, Il Quaderno… op. cit.; G. Nepi Sciré, Il Quaderno… op cit. xxiv C/L 242 and 360; see also, Blick auf den Canal Grande. Venedig und die Sammlung des Berliner Kaufmanns Sigismund Streit, catalogue of the exhibition curated by N. Hartje, with the collaboration of R. Contini, H. Kreillig and P.P. Rohrlach (Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Preussischer Kulturbesitz, 6 September 2002 – 13 January 2003), Berlin 2002. xxv Vedi, A. Corboz, Canaletto. Una Venezia immaginaria, Milano 1985. xxvi C/L 306; Christie’s, 13 December 2000, lot 104 (together with C/L 40, lot 105); for other paintings of the series, see C/L 69 and 193 (a); Christie’s, London, 2 December 2008, lots 45 and 46. xxvii C/L 558; A. Bettagno, Canaletto. Disegni – dipinti – incisioni, catalogue of the exhibition (Venice, Fondazione Giorgio Cini, autumn 1982), Vicenza 1982, p. 53, no. 75. xxviii C/L 596; see also A. Craievich, La Galleria Nazionale… op. cit., pp. 117-123, cat. 66; A. Craievich, I disegni di Canaletto… op. cit., pp. 18-33; B.A. Kowalczyk, Canaletto e Bellotto: l’arte della veduta, catalogue of the exhibition (Turin, Palazzo Bricherasio, 13 March-15 June 2008), pp. 228-229, no. 92. xxix Vedi J. Bean, F. Stampfle, Drawings from New York Collections. The 18th Century in Italy, New York 1971, p. 69, no. 159, watermark no. 19. xxx Two types of watermark can be identified among the Viggiano drawings, Galleria Nazionale di Arte Antica, Trieste: fragments of the same stylised flower in nos. 299 and 302; a different fragment in no. 301 which is on the same paper as nos. 300 and 303; nos. 297 and 298 are without watermark, but the paper is the same, that of the former Brass diagrammatic drawings (cat. nos. 6, 7 and 8); among the drawings of the Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice, a fragment of watermark is visible in no. 1695 which is on the same paper as no. 1700; the other papers are different from each other; see also, G. Nepi Scirè, in Da Leonardo a Canaletto… op. cit., pp. 240-255, nos. 95-102; A. Craievich, in La Galleria Nazionale… op. cit., p. 119. xxxi Vedi, A. Binion, Some New Drawings by Canaletto, “Master Drawings”, XIV, 4, Winter 1976, pp. 390-396. xxxii This can also be observed in the Viggiano drawings; in the Trieste sheets the numbers are 738, 744 and 745; in those of Venice 741 and 749; clearly the numbering refers to a single collection, plausibly the Corniani-Algarotti; see also note 33. xxxiii A. Craievich, “Avendo l’arte sua per fine principalissimo il diletto”: note su alcuni disegni di Francesco Algarotti, “Arte Veneta”, 60 (2003), p. 160 and figs. 11 - 16; the drawings are mentioned for the first time in 1840 in the catalogue of the collection drawn up by the grandson of Bonomo Algarotti, Bernardino Corniani degli Algarotti: “Added to this collection is a folder, with a book of 130 pages containing architectural and figure Sketches, with notes in his hand by C. Algarotti himself”(see note 47). xxxiv As are those of the Viggiano drawings.


xxxv

It should be noted that the datings proposed by scholars until today for the entire Corniani-Algarotti nucleus are erroneous. See also note 31. xxxvii S. Kozakiewicz, Bernardo Bellotto, London 1972; B. A. Kowalczyk, Disegni italiani del Bellotto (1735-1747), degree thesis, Università degli Studi di Venezia, 1988. xxxviii G. Fiocco, Cento antichi disegni veneziani … op. cit., p. 28, no. 72. xxxix For a biographical profile, see H. Krellig, Francesco e Bonomo Algarotti (Venezia 1712-Pisa 1764; Venezia 1706-Carpenedo 1776), in Il collezionismo d’arte a Venezia. Il Settecento, edited by L. Borean, S. Mason, Venezia 2009, pp. 239-241; the date of birth of Bonomo, 14 March 1706 is recorded here, as communicated to the author by Vittorio Mandelli. xl Treviso, Biblioteca Comunale, mss. 1246-1290. xli H. Krellig, Francesco e Bonomo Algarotti … op. cit., p. 240. xlii G.A. Moschini, Della letteratura veneziana del secolo XVIII fino a’ nostri giorni, Venezia 1806, t. II, p. 106. xliii There are no certainties regarding either the date or the author of the publication; the date, as suggested by all the sources, is posterior to the death of Bonomo on 9 September 1776; a certain terminus ante quem is 1784, the year of the publication by Lorenzo Manini, Cremona, of volume X of the Opere del Conte Francesco Algarotti Cavaliere dell’Ordine del Merito, e Ciambellano di S.M. il Re di Prussia, where, on p. 39, there is the following note: “Mrs. Maria Algarotti Corniani, the only heir of the late Signor Conte Bonomo Algarotti, and niece of Conte Francesco has procured for Italy, or rather for Europe, a brief history of the select gallery of her aforementioned uncle. She has had printed in Italian and French the catalogue of all the paintings and drawings and the books relating to the fine arts, owned and conserved for eternal memory by the Algarotti family”; as regards the author, the name of Selva, indicated by Moschini, is confirmed by B. Gamba (Opuscolo di Gio. Antonio Selva postumo colle notizie della sua vita, Venezia-Alvisopoli 1819, pp. 12-13); C. Tonini, in Luca Carlevarijs: 1663 - 1730; navi e altri disegni dalle collezioni del Museo Correr, catalogue of the exhibition curated by F. Pedrocco and C. Tonini (Venice, Ca’ Rezzonico, 16 May – 17 September 2007), Venezia 2007, p. 7 and p. 11, note 7. xliv G.A. Moschini, Guida per la città di Venezia all’amico delle Belle Arti, Venezia 1815, I, p. 642. xlv This can be deduced from the note on page 9 in the 1854 catalogue of the collection (see note 46), which follows the generic list of the drawings: “NB. All these pictorial drawings, especially those of small dimensions, lend themselves particularly to the creation of precious Albums both to adorn the reception rooms of important families and as lavish gifts for eminent personages”; see, C. Tonini, in Luca Carlevarijs … op. cit., p. 8. xlvi Venice, Archivio di Stato, Inquisitoriato alle Acque, b. 136, fascicle 60; H. Krellig, Francesco e Bonomo Algarotti … op. cit., p. 240. This inventory, undated but undoubtedly drawn up in the months immediately after the death of Bonomo, includes the estimates of the works. The six paintings by Canaletto are assigned an overall value that is surprising low, of 12 zecchini, proportionately the same as that of the two Vedute di Architettura by Apollonio Domenichini valued at four zecchini, although two were sold before the drafting of Selva’s Catalogo; La veduta del Canal Grande by Giuseppe Moretti is instead valued at 3 zecchini. The nine drawings by Canaletto command a valuation of 220 lire, one of the highest prices in the collection. It is interesting to note that the only album of sketches listed both in the inventory of the Diziani and in Selva’s catalogue is that of Ferdinando Galli Bibiena which, as specified in the 1840 catalogue (see note 47), is “a large book of 64 pages which belonged to him [Francesco Algarotti], containing sketches for theatrical decorations”. xlvii Collezione di quadri di epoche e scuole diverse Con altri Oggetti in Pittura, e di Opere d’Arti Belle, con soli cenni di Stampe, Disegni e Lamine di rame incise, Venezia 1840; Galleria Particolare. Catalogo de’ dipinti ed oggetti d’arte posseduti dal nobile signor Lauro Bernardino Corniani de’ conti d’Algarotti antico Conservatore dell’I.R. Accademia di Belle Arti di Venezia, 1854. xlviii Venice, Archivio di Stato, Inquisitoriato alle Acque, b. 136, fascicle 60, f. 10; Catalogo dei quadri dei disegni e dei libri che trattano dell’arte del disegno della galleria del fu Sig. Conte Algarotti, [s-d], p. LVI (the typologies of the drawings “by unknown authors” are specified – not consistent with the sketches of Canaletto – while the twenty architectural drawings are defined as “geometric”). xlix Galleria Particolare… op. cit., p. 9. l The Travel Diaries of Otto Mündler, edited by C. Togneri, The Walpole Society, 51, Leeds 1985, p. 139; the passage is cited by M. Levey, Two paintings by Tiepolo from the Algarotti Collection, “The Burlington Magazine”, 687, June 1960, p. 250; A. Craievich, I disegni di Canaletto…op. cit, p. 27. li C. Tonini, in Luca Carlevarijs … op. cit., pp. 7-11; this is an album, now unbound, of drawings of ships, on brown or blue prepared paper (one alone is on white paper), in pen and brown watercolour, carefully finished with touches of lead white. The Museo Correr also possesses sketches of figures by Carlevarijs, in albums and loose, donated by Fabio Mauroner; for the latter, it is assumed that they belonged to Canaletto who takes up certain of the ideas. It is certain that Canaletto was also familiar with the naval sketches of Corniani-Algarotti provenance, which explains his rare drawings of ships, such as that which appeared at the Sotheby’s auction in New York on 27 January 2010, lot 89, which is similar in terms of the layout and chiaroscuro accuracy, despite being executed using a different technique. xxxvi


Cat. no6. Santa Marta and the nearby houses, Recto Houses at Santa Marta, Verso, c. 1758 i

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iii

C/L 360; other paintings of the series are nos. 242, 282, 359. For the date of the shipment to Berlin, see P. Rohrlach, Sigismund Streit und seine Stiftung, in Festgabe zum 250 jährigen Bestehen der Streitschen Stiftung zu Berlin. Herausgegeben vom Vorstand der Streitschen Stiftung, Berlin 2002, p. 27. E. Schleier, in Canaletto. Disegni-dipinti-incisioni, catalogue of the exhibition curated by A. Bettagno (Venice, Fondazione Giorgio Cini, autumn 1982), Vicenza 1982, p. 87. Verzeichnüss (detailed description of the works sent to Berlin in 1763), manuscript volume conserved at the Streitsche Stiftung, Berlin; the volume is cited by R. Contini, in Canaletto. Venezia e i suoi splendori, catalogue of the exhibition curated by G. Pavanello and A. Craievich (Treviso, Casa dei Carraresi, 23 October 2008 – 5 April 2009), Venezia 2008, pp. 270- 271.

Cat. no7. Santa Marta on the edge of the lagoon, Recto Corner house and house with dormer, lagoon with boats, Verso, c. 1758 i

ii

C/L 360; other paintings of the series are nos. 242, 282, 359. For the date of the shipment to Berlin, see P. Rohrlach, Sigismund Streit und seine Stiftung, in Festgabe zum 250 jährigen Bestehen der Streitschen Stiftung zu Berlin. Herausgegeben vom Vorstand der Streitschen Stiftung, Berlin 2002, p. 27. E. Schleier, in Canaletto. Disegni-dipinti-incisioni, catalogue of the exhibition curated by A. Bettagno (Venice, Fondazione Giorgio Cini, autumn 1982), Vicenza 1982, p. 87.

Cat. no8. Venice, the Grand Canal: house in the vicinity of Palazzo Foscari and Palazzo Michiel dalle Colonne, Recto The Grand Canal with the Fabbriche Nuove of Rialto and the corner of the Fondaco dei Tedeschi, Verso i ii iii

C/L 242; other paintings of the series are C/L 282, 359 and 360; see cat nos. 6/7. C/L 596. T. Pignatti, Il Quaderno dei disegni del Canaletto alle Gallerie di Venezia, Milano 1958; G. Nepi Sciré, Il Quaderno di Canaletto, Venezia 1997.

Cat. no9. Venice: Piazza San Marco looking south-east, 1740-1743 i ii

iii iv v vi

C/L 50 and 154. C/L 535; K. T. Parker, The Drawings of Antonio Canaletto in the Collection of His Majesty the King at Windsor Castle, Oxford and London 1948 (reprinted with an appendix by C. Crawley, Bologna 1990), pp. 33-34, no. 26. C/L 568. C/L 581. C/L 545. G. Nepi Scirè, Il Quaderno di Canaletto, Venezia 1997, p. 43.

Cat. no10. Venice: Scuola Grande di San Marco, c. 1739 i

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iii

iv

v vi vii

C/L 304 and 305; C. Beddington, Some little-known Venetian views by Canaletto of the 1720s, “The Burlington Magazine”, CXLVII, 1244, November 2006, pp. 772-778. R. Contini, The Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection. Seventeenth and eighteenth century Italian painting, London 2002, pp. 276-279, no. 58. R. Pallucchini, Trésors de l’art vénitien, catalogue of the exhibition (Lausanne, Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts), Milano-Bruxelles 1947, p. 64, no. 162. C/L 306; Christie’s, 13 December 2000, lot 104 (together with C/L 40, lot 105); for other paintings of the series, see C/L 69 and 193 (a); Christie’s, London, 2 December 2008, lots 45 and 46. K. T. Parker, The Drawings of Antonio Canaletto in the collection of His Majesty the King at Windsor Castle, Oxford and London 1948 (reprinted with an appendix by C. Crawley, Bologna 1990), p. 37, no. 40; B.A. Kowalczyk, in Canaletto. Il trionfo della veduta, catalogue of the exhibition (Rome, Palazzo Giustiniani, 11 March – 19 June 2005), Cinisello Balsamo 2005, pp. 156-157, no. 34. S. Kozakiewicz, Bernardo Bellotto, London 1972, vol. 2, nos. 24, 25 and A 256. B.A. Kowalczyk, in Canaletto. Il trionfo della veduta … op. cit., pp. 266-281, no. 75 (p. 280, fig. 42). C/L 308.


Cat. no11. Venice: Scuola Grande di San Marco, c. 1739 i

C/L 306; Christie’s, 13 December 2000, lot 104 (together with C/L 40, lot 105); for the other paintings in the series, see C/L 69 and 193 (a); Christie’s, London, 2 December 2008, lots 45 and 46.

Cat. no12. Capriccio: a colonnade in ruins at the edge of the sea, c. 1765 i

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iii iv v vi vii

C/L 802* and C/L 805*A. Binion, Some New Drawings by Canaletto, “Master Drawings”, XIV, 4, Winter 1976, pp. 390-396; Goethe collezionista e il disegno Veneto del Settecento. Capolavori dalle raccolte di Weimar, catalogue of the exhibition curated by H. Mildenberger (Milan, Castello Sforzesco, 13 March-26 April 2009), Milano 2009, pp. 36-37, no. 6 and pp. 38-39, no. 7. H. Kusakova, Italska renesancni a barkni Kresba ze sbirek Moravskà Galerie, Brno 1969, no. 7; A.Binion, Some New Drawings… op. cit., p. 395. C/L 711. C/L 802 and 805. C/L 823*. A. Binion, Some New Drawings… op. cit., p. 394. J. Bean, F. Stampfle, Drawings from New York Collections.III. The Eighteenth Century in Italy, New York 1971, p. 53, nos. 104, 105 and 106, watermark no. 29.



GIANDOMENICO TIEPOLO Venice 1727 - Venice 1804

Son of Giambattista Tiepolo, under whom he studied. Accompanied his father to Wurzburg (1750-53) and assisted him there and in the decoration of the Villa Valmarana near Vicenza (1757) and later at Madrid (1762-70). By the mid 1750’s he was considered a distinguished artist in his own right. In 1761 he is documented as being a member of the Fraglia dei Pittori (Painter Guild) and in 1780 was elected President of the Venetian Academy. After the death of his father in Madrid (1770) he returned to Venice where he developed his own intuitive style which produced several brilliantly original series of drawings often numbering more than a hundred on a single theme.


13. A Nymph carried off by a centaur Dateable after 1771 Pen and brown ink, brown wash 193 x 270 mm. Signed lower left: Dom. Tiepolo Numbered top left: 135

This sheet is part of a large series of approximately 140 drawings depicting Centaurs, Fauns and Satyrs that represent nearly ten percent of Domenico’s known pen studies. Scholars agree that the earliest drawings by Domenico on this theme have been conceived after his return from Spain to Venice in 1770. James Byam Shawi described these works as ìthe most delightful and original of all Domenico’s allegorical and mythological subjects captured by his imagination. The series was studied and published by Jean Cailleuxii in 1974 and since then others, like the present two, have come to light. Cailleux divided the group into four. The present and following study are part of the second, which consists of no less than 26 where the centaur is accompanied by a nymph. It is interesting that the figure of the centaur and the nymph of this sheet is taken up again, with few changes, in the drawing no.61 of Pulcinella carried off by a Centaur at the British Museum in Londoniii. It is difficult to say for certain if some of the drawings are studies for more ambitious compositions, perhaps connected to paintings or frescoes. For example in a drawing by Domenico at Williamstown of an interior with The Young Mary Accepts the Scarlet and the Pure Purple, hanging on the back wall of this interior is an independent painting of a Centaur hunting iv. (G.G.)

i ii

iii

iv

James Byam Shaw, The Drawings of Domenico Tiepolo, London, 1962. Jean Cailleux, Centaurs, fauns, female fauns, and satyrs among the drawings of Domenico Tiepolo, Burlington Magazine, no. 31, June 1974 Adelheid Gealt, Domenico Tiepolo the Punchinello Drawings, New Yok, 1986, no. 61, p.146 Adelheid M. Gealt & G. Knox, Domenico Tiepolo, A New Testament, Indiana University Press, no. 19, 2006



14. A Centaur abducting a Nymph Dateable after 1771 Pen and brown ink, brown wash 195 x 276 mm. Signed lower right: Dom. Tiepolo f. Numbered top left: 61

Many of the drawings with a centaur abducting a nymph have been given the title Nessus and Dejanira, however, the series seem to me to be only very loosely based on this myth as none have Hercules in them. That story takes place in Aetholia, northern Greece. Hercules wrestles with Achelous for the hand of Dejanira, daughter of the king of Claydon. He is victorious, marries her, but both are forced to flee to Trachis, a city of ancient Greece, after Hercules accidently kills the young Eunomus, who served at the table of Dejanira’s father. When they arrive at the swollen river Evenus, Hercules asks the centaur, Nessus, to take his wife across to the opposite bank. When done Nessus attempts to violate her, angers Hercules, who shoots him with a poisonous arrow. (G.G.)



15. Female Fauns leaving the dance Dateable after 1771 Pen and brown ink, brown wash 193 x 275 mm. Signed lower right: Dom. Tiepolo f.

Satyrs and fauns belong to Greek mythology. Half human and half beast, companions of Pan and Dionysus, they have pointed ears, small horns growing out of the forehead and feet covered with hair. In the foreground of this charming drawing two of the three female fauns seem to go away from the group of peasants and a female faun, dancing and playing in the background. A satyr is sitting next to his quiver and club and looks at the female faun with long hair hiding her nudity. It is interesting to note the similarity between this figure and the one playing a tambourine with the two protagonists of the following sheet with female fauns in an interior. Is it just coincidence or do these two drawings form part of a longer story? Whatever this study shows, with its spontaneity and freedom, the distance between Domenico’s naturalistic spirit and his father’s sublime world. (G.G.)



16. A domestic interior with a female faun and her baby son; another female faun holding a dish of food, all seated on a sofa Dateable after 1771 Pen and brown ink, brown wash 200 x 281 mm. Signed center left: Dom. Tiepolo f

This is one of only two drawings presently known of Satyrs and Fauns in interiors. The other, Satyr family at dinner, is at Paris, Ecole des Beaux-Arts, inv. n. 2424. As Cailleux pointed out they are very close to the series known as Scenes from Everyday Life. In this delightful drawing Domenico depicts the female faun as an affectionate mother playing with her son while another female faun is holding a dish of food ready for the baby. The domesticity of this scene is emphasized by every detail of the interior: the elegant Venetian sofa, the painting on the back wall of A satyr playing a pipe, the dog on the lower left and the basket of toys near the baby. Scenes such as this would seem to be Domenico’s idyllic world, escaping from the reality of the end of Venice’s golden age. (G.G.)

Literature: J. Cailleux, Centaurs, fauns, female fauns and satyrs among the drawings of Domenico Tiepolo, Burlington Magazine no. 31, June 1974, supplement, p. xxviii, no. 99, reproduced fig. 86 Adelheid M. Gealt & G. Knox, Giandomenico Tiepolo, Disegni dal Mondo, 1996, under no. 127, p. 192.



17. A group of running hounds Dateable after 1770 Pen, black ink and grey wash 243 x 182 mm. Signed lower right: Dom. Tiepolo f.

This is part of a large group of drawings representing dogs. Dateable after Domenico’s return from Spain, 1770. Byam Shaw considered most of the animal drawings to be preliminary ideas for the fresco decorations of the family villa at Zianigo, near Venice, began in 1749 and continued until 1793. Unfortunately none of the frescoes with dogs have survived but documentation about the decoration of the villa mentions “Quattro sovrapporte con cani” in the hall of the ground flor and a fireplace screen was decorated with a standing greyhound i. (G.G.)

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P. Molmenti, La villa di Zianigo e gli affreschi di Giandomenico Tiepolo, in Emporium, Settembre 1907.



18. Three hounds in a landscape Dateable after 1770 Pen, black ink and grey wash 240 x 183 mm. Signed lower right: Dom. Tiepolo f.

This drawing, as the previous one, documents Domenico’s love for the animal world and in particular for dogs. There are three breeds that appear most frequently in his works: hounds, whippets and spaniels. According to Gealt 1996i Domenico gave dogs different hidden meanings, depending on subject and situation. So a whippet becomes the silent witness in many works in the New Testament series, hounds appear in most of the Pulcinella drawings and spaniels are often to be seen next to the young women in the series of Scenes of Contemporary Life. (G.G.)

i

A. M. Gealt, G. Knox, Giandomenico Tiepolo, Disegni dal Mondo, 1996, pp. 71-74




FRANCESCO CASANOVA London 1727 – Bruhl, nr. Vienna 1803

Spent his youth in Venice. Brother of Giacomo, the famous lover, who records in his infamous Memoires that Francesco studied, until c. 1749, drawing for ten years with Gian Antonio Guardi. In Venice he made copies after the work of Francesco Simonini whose pupil he probably was from c. 1749-51. In 1751 he moved to Paris but left a year later for Dresden where he came in contact with the works of Charles Parrocel and Philips Wouwerman. In 1757 he returned to Paris, where, according to his brothers Memoires he exhibited at the Louvre, and was much sought after for his battles, hunting and equestrian scenes. Between 1761-1771, he exhibited at the Salon to great acclaim, and must have spent time in Rome in 1768. On his marriage certificate of 1762 he was designated Peintre de Roi a position he kept until 1783. In that year he moved to Vienna. During the early 1790’s he was probably commissioned by Catherine II of Russia to paint a cycle of pictures celebrating the Russian Victory over the Turks, of which preliminary studies exist in the Albertina, Viennai. In 1795 he travelled to Hungary with á Nicolas Esterházy and in 1797 completed paintings for Ferdinand IV, the Bourbon, King of Naples.

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Albertina, Generalverzeichnis, Band II, 1994, p. 1004 ff.


19. A Cavalry Battle Black ink and grey wash heightened with white and blue on yellow paper 240 x 183 mm. Signed indistinctly and dated: ...fe Roma 1768 480 x 688 mm.

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries finished drawings such as this, prints and paintings of battle scenes were widely cultivated and collected. Jacques Courtois or Giacomo Cortese (1621-1676) as he was known in Italy, and Francesco Simonini (1686-1753) being the earlier practitioners. Casanova was much admired all over Europe, and ranks as the last leading exponent of this discipline. His evocation of mood, effects of space and his chromatic treatment of ink and wash and of oil were highly thought of. In this fine drawing the combatants appear before us fighting for honour and life. We seem to hear the cries and shouts, the neighing of horses. They seem even today to be real occupants of the battle-field. (G.G.)




PIETRO ANTONIO NOVELLI Venice 1729 – Venice 1804

Painter, draughtsman and engraver. Much of the information we know about him comes from his memories published in 1834 at Padua after his death. He studied under Pittoni and was much influenced by Giambattista Tiepolo, Francesco Guardi, Jacopo Amigoni and Diziani. He worked in Venice, Padua and Udine, was also in Bologna after 1773, and Rome from 1779 until c. 1800, where he received abundant commission for frescoes and paintings for churches and private dwellings. He was a fine illustrator of contemporary books and plays, in particular, those of Carlo Goldoni.


20. Interior of a Palace with Psyche and her two sisters receiving gifts from her father’s subjects Pen and brown wash heightened with white on paper washed pink 335 x 476 mm. Signed lower left: Pietro Antonio Novelli invento e disegno in Roma

The story of the love of Cupid for Psyche, taken from The Golden Ass, by Apuleius begins thus. “Once upon a time there lived a king and queen who had three very beautiful daughters. They were so beautiful, in fact, that it was only just possible to find words of praise for the elder two, and to express the breath-taking loveliness of the youngest, the like of which had never been seen before, was beyond all power of human speech. Every day thousands of her father’s subjects came to gaze at her, foreigners too, and were so dumbfounded by the sight that they paid her the homage due to the Goddess Venus alone. They pressed their right thumbs and forefingers together, reverently raised them to their lips and blew kisses towards her. The news of her matchless beauty spread through neighbouring cities and countries. Some reported: Immortal Venus, born from the deep blue sea and risen to Heaven from its foam, has descended on earth and is now incarnate as a mortal at whom everyone is allowed to gaze. Others: No, this time the earth, not the sea, has been impregnated by a heavenly emanation and has borne a new Goddess of Love, all the more beautiful because she is still a virgin. The princess’s fame was carried farther and farther to distant provinces and still more distant ones and people made long pilgrimages over land and sea to witness the greatest wonder of their age. As a result, nobody took the trouble to visit Venus’s shrines at Cyprian Paphos or Carian Cnidos or even in the isle of Cythea where her lovely foot first touched dry land; her festivals were neglected, her rites discontinued, the cushions on which her statues had been propped at her sacred temple feasts were kicked about the floor, the statues themselves were left without their usual garlands, her altars were unswept and cluttered with the foul remains of months-old burned sacrifices, her temples were allowed to fall into ruins. When the young princess went out on her morning walk through the streets, victims were offered in her honour, sacred feasts spread for her, flowers scattered in her path, and rose garlands presented to her by an adoring crowd of suppliants who addressed her by all the titles that really belonged to the great Goddess of Love herself”. This is the very beginning of this lovely story so it would seem to us that other drawings would have been executed. We know of no others. (G.G.)




GIUSEPPE BERNARDINO BISON Palmanova (Udine) 1762 – Milan 1844

Giuseppe Bernardino Bison was a productive and original artist and draughtsman who specialized in decorative projects. Arrived in Venice in 1777. It was in this city that he established two important contacts: Anton Maria Zanetti the younger, a noted historian of Venetian art, and Antonio Mauro, a scenographer. Bison attended the Accademia di Belle Arti in Venice, was awarded a prize for his drawings from the nude, and met such established older artists as Pietro Longhi, Francesco Guardi, Francesco Zuccarelli, and Giandomenico Tiepolo. Between 1787 and 1793 he worked in Ferrara and Padua. His frescoes were much in demand in the Trentino area, and from 1807 to 1831 he made Trieste his permanent residence, producing domestic decoration for the Casa Belloni and the Palazzo Carciotti there. He painted backdrops for the theatre in Gorizia, and at some point designed four sets for Mozart’s Don Giovanni, which had premiered in Prague in 1787. Remarkable in his versatility, he painted winter and genre scenes, rural landscapes, historical events, imaginary scenes, biblical subjects, and wall decorations. He was elected an associate of the Accademia di Belle Arti in Venice in 1824. In 1831 he moved to Milan, which by then had surpassed Venice as a cultural mecca. Although his career extended well into the nineteenth century, he remained in the graceful and engaging tradition of the eighteenth century, investing even his religious subjects with light-hearted theatricality. During his years in Trieste he experienced artistic crosscurrents from both the Venetian and Bavarian Rococo, and his work retains the flavour of both.


21. Venice, The Doge’s Palace and Riva degli Schiavoni looking east Dateable c. 1828 Gouache on paper Signed with initials: B.B.F 380 x 490 mm.

Like Canaletto before him, Bison, almost one hundred years later chose to paint the same views to sell to the tourist visiting Venice at that time. The present work, among the most famous sights that Venice affords in that of Palazzo Ducale, the Ponte della Paglia, and the Riva degli Schiavoni extending into the distance. Canaletto painted this view several times in the 1730’s and in this depiction the only change is the nineteenth century dress that the local inhabitants and visitors wear. (G.G.)




CARLO GRUBACS Venice 1802 - Venice 1878

Carlo Grubacs was born in Venice to Giovanni Battista, whose family descended from Perasto (Montenegro) and Stella Cattelani. As a youth he began his artistic training in 1818, when he was admitted to the painting school run by Teodoro Matteini at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Venice. He soon directed his pictorial skill towards the creation of perspective views of a neo-eighteenth-century flavour, which led him to become one of the best interpreters of this genre. His artistic acclaim was considerable, even during his lifetime, and he was greatly esteemed even abroad; some of his works are conserved in prestigious European museums such as the Kestner Museum in Hanover and the Stadtmuseum in Oldenburg. The artist continued to be a regular presence at the annual exhibitions, he took part in the events of the SocietĂ Veneta Promotrice di Belle Arti and also presented three works at the Florence expo of 1871.


22. Venice, The Grand Canal Gouache on paper 220 x 270 mm.

23. Venice, Palazzo Pesaro Gouache on paper 220 x 265 mm.

24. Venice, San Giorgio Maggiore Gouache on paper 220 x 267 mm.

25. Venice, View of San Giorgio Maggiore Gouache on paper 210 x 260 mm.

Carlo Grubacs was one of the most prolific interpreters of the Venetian veduta tradition. The four drawings reveal the strength of the influence of Canaletto’s models, albeit reviewed in line with a less celebratory vision, instead paying greater attention to the Venetian reality of the first half of the nineteenth century. Although the fairly rigid schema of the eighteenth-century perspective views are still respected, in his works he brings to the “perspective” depiction a new, more vibrant sense of colour, an aspect that emerges even more clearly and distinctly in his paintings. Generally the views that the artist chooses to portray favour the most representative sites of Venice, such as the Grand Canal, San Giorgio Maggiore or the Palazzo Ducale. The spatial depth of the views is characterised by clear-cut forms, rendered solid by a light that enhances the delicate colours and delineates the splendour of the architecture. The touch is always precise and scrupulous, the brushstroke fluid. The verso of each drawing bears a title in italics in brown ink indicating the name of the place illustrated. (CC)


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Printed in Italy February 2010