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Stephen Ongpin Fine Art

Front cover: Giovanni Battista Piazzetta (1682-1754) The Apostle Saint Simon Zelotes No.27



Ongpin Fine Art


I am pleased to present this catalogue of Italian drawings of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, drawn from private collections in America and the United Kingdom, which will be accompanied by an exhibition at our gallery in London. All of the drawings are for sale, and entries for each of them may be found at the back of this catalogue.

I would like to thank my wife Laura, as well as Alesa Boyle, Antonia Rosso and Megan Corcoran Locke for their help in preparing this catalogue. I am also grateful to the following people for their assistance: Bernard Aikema, Charles Beddington, Marco Simone Bolzoni, Jane Carter, Gino Franchi, Alastair Frazer, Emma Ricci, Rick Scorza and Andrew Smith, as well as the owners of these drawings who have entrusted their sale to us.

Further information on each of the works, including artist’s biographies and full references, as well as highresolution digital images, are available on request. All of this information can also be found on our website.

Stephen Ongpin

Dimensions are given in millimetres and inches, with height before width. Unless otherwise noted, paper is white or whitish.

High-resolution digital and framed images of the drawings are available on request.

All enquiries should be addressed to Stephen Ongpin at Stephen Ongpin Fine Art Ltd. 82 Park Street

London W1K 6NH

Tel. [+44] (20) 7930-8813 or [+44] (7710) 328-627 e-mail:




Urbino c.1476-1551 Urbino

A Reclining Male Nude

Pen and brown ink.

Laid down, and the sheet made up at the top and upper right edges.

Faintly inscribed Titiano dorsodur in brown ink at the lower left.

147 x 245 mm. (5 3/4 x 9 5/8 in.)



Treviso 1497(?)-1544 Boulogne

Apollo as a Musician

Pen and brown ink and brown wash, heightened with white, over an underdrawing in black chalk, on paper washed a light brown.

Inscribed Semino(?) in brown ink at the lower right. Further inscribed Giu Romano / 177 in pencil on the verso. 242 x 197 mm. (9 1/2 x 7 3/4 in.)


Rome c.1499-1546 Mantua

Saint Blaise, Seated and Crowned by an Angel

Pen and brown ink and brown wash on buff paper. Inscribed Julle Romain in brown ink at the lower centre.

206 x 137 mm. (8 1/8 x 5 3/8 in.)

recto verso



Parma 1503-1540 Casalmaggiore

Recto: Study of Male Nudes, One Tied to a Tree

Verso: Study of a Reclining Male Nude

Pen and brown ink and brown wash, with traces of framing lines in brown ink at the left edge.

The verso in black chalk.

182 x 246 mm. (7 1/8 x 9 3/4 in.)

Watermark: Partial circular.



Bologna 1474/5-1552 Bologna

A Group of Men Fighting

Pen and brown ink, over an underdrawing in black chalk, on brown prepared paper, made up at the corners.

Inscribed Del cavalier Liberi(?) in brown ink and, in a different hand, Pietro paolo(?) libro(?) in black ink on the verso.

Further inscribed Baccio Bandinelli in pencil on the verso.

276 x 427 mm. (10 7/8 x 16 3/4 in.)




Venice c.1510-1561 Venice

A Dromedary

Red chalk.

210 x 298 mm. (8 1/4 x 11 3/4 in.)


Sant’Angelo in Vado 1529-1566 Rome

Recto: Two Studies of a Kneeling Figure

Verso: Jupiter Seated on a Cloud with an Eagle

Red chalk.

The verso in pen and brown ink and grey wash, over an underdrawing in black chalk.

A made up section along the lower centre edge of the sheet.

236 x 279 mm. (9 1/4 x 11 in.)



Attributed to TADDEO ZUCCARO

Sant’Angelo in Vado 1529-1566 Rome

Saint Roch

Pen and brown ink and brown wash.

228 x 150 mm. (9 x 5 7/8 in.)


Four Studies of the Heads of Horses

Pen and brown ink, extensively heightened with white. A large made-up section at the upper centre. Laid down.

229 x 347 mm. (9 x 13 5/8 in.)



PAOLO CALIARI, called VERONESE Verona 1528-1588 Venice

Sheet of Figure Studies

Pen and brown ink, on a sheet of paper formerly folded into four quadrants.

Extensively inscribed in brown ink. Further extensively inscribed with a list, with some items crossed out, in brown ink on the verso. 192 x 254 mm. (7 5/8 x 10 in.)

Watermark: An eight-pointed star above a circle with the letters B & D inside.


CAMILLO PROCACCINI Bologna 1561-1629 Milan

The Apostles Gathered Around the Tomb of the Virgin

Pen and brown ink, with brown and reddish wash, heightened with white on paper washed with a reddish-brown ground, with framing lines in brown ink.

A slight sketch of a standing Roman soldier drawn in black chalk, with touches of brown wash and white heightening, on the verso. 177 x 425 mm. (7 x 16 3/4 in.)




Mensano 1552-1607 Siena

Recto: Studies of the Legs and Torso of a Nude Woman, with a Separate Study of the Head of a Woman

Verso: Studies of Arms and Hands, and the Body of a Child

Black and red chalk, the verso in red chalk.

Numbered 20 in brown ink at the lower right.

179 x 255 mm. (7 x 10 in.)



Mensano 1552-1607 Siena

Two Studies of a Winged Putto

Black chalk, heightened with white chalk, on red prepared paper. Laid down.

Numbered 8 in brown ink at the upper right.

172 x 184 mm. (6 3/4 x 7 1/4 in.)


Attributed to ANNIBALE CARRACCI Bologna 1560-1609 Rome

A Man Seated on a Ledge, Accompanied by a Putto

Pen and brown ink, over traces of red chalk, with framing lines in brown ink.

The sheet extended at the top. Numbered (by Pierre Crozat) 24 in brown ink at the lower right. Inscribed ANNIBAL CARRACHE in black ink in a cartouche at the bottom of the former Mariette mount. 183 x 166 mm. (7 1/4 x 6 1/2 in.)



Gualdo Tadino 1551-1629 Rome

Aeneas and the Cumaean Sibyl

Pen and brown ink and brown wash, heightened with white and with partial framing lines in brown ink, on blue paper.

A faint study of a standing, draped female figure in black chalk on the verso. 195 x 222 mm. (7 5/8 x 8 3/4 in.)


A Sheet of Figure Studies with the Virgin or a Female Saint, A Man Kneeling Before a Saint, and Several Figures Before a Lion

Pen and brown ink.

226 x 137 mm. (8 7/8 x 5 3/8 in.)

JACOPO NEGRETTI, called PALMA GIOVANE Venice c.1548-1628 Venice

The Risen Christ

Pen and brown ink and brown wash, with touches of white heightening, on buff paper, laid down. Dated 1627 in brown ink at the lower centre. An illegible inscription in brown ink at the bottom edge, cut off.

252 x 185 mm. (9 7/8 x 7 1/4 in.)

JACOPO NEGRETTI, called PALMA GIOVANE Venice c.1548-1628 Venice


Naples or Rome 1589-1629 Rome

Ships on a Stormy Sea

Pen and two shades of brown ink and brown wash. Made up at the top left corner, and the sheet backed. 165 x 257 mm. (6 1/2 x 10 1/8 in.)



Verona 1586-1630 Verona

Two Saints in Clouds

Pen and brown ink, with brown and grey wash, heightened with cream oil paint.

Laid down on an 18th or 19th century mount, inscribed No223. and No 6 in brown ink on the reverse.

141 x 192 mm. (5 1/2 x 7 1/2 in.)




Siena 1580-1663 Siena

The Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes

Pen and brown ink and brown wash, with framing lines in brown ink. Inscribed Nasini in brown ink on the verso.

170 x 376 mm. (6 3/4 x 14 3/4 in.)


STEFANO DELLA BELLA Florence 1610-1664 Florence

Oriental Horsemen in Procession, Escorted by Dwarves with Pikes

Pen and brown ink and grey wash, over black chalk. Illegibly inscribed [partially cut off] in brown ink (or red chalk?) at the lower centre edge.

174 x 288 mm. (6 3/4 x 11 3/8 in.)




Arenella 1615-1673 Rome

Mercury Bearing a Cornucopia: Design for a Frontispiece for Francisco Serra, Synonymorum apparatus, 1654

Pen and brown ink and brown wash, over an underdrawing in black chalk.

Inscribed (by Rymsdyk) Rymsdyk’s [crossed out] Museum in brown ink at the lower right.

Laid down on an 18th century (Richardson) mount, inscribed Salvator Rosa. in brown ink at the bottom. Further inscribed Born Naples 1615, Died [a]t Rome 1[6]73 and He was a Disciple of Don. Falconi. in brown ink on the bottom of the mount.

Inscribed with the shelfmarks P 120. / Zn. 10. / K. in brown ink on the reverse of the mount.

201 x 136 mm. (7 7/8 x 5 3/8 in.) [sheet]



Arenella 1615-1673 Rome

A Group of Seven Figures, including a Child Beggar

Pen and brown ink and brown wash, with framing lines in brown ink. `

121 x 196 mm. (4 3/4 x 7 3/4 in.)




Dalmatia or Venice c.1677-1753 Gorizia

A Male Nude with a Staff

Black chalk, heightened with touches of white, with stumping.

Laid down.

266 x 175 mm. (10 1/2 x 6 7/8 in.)


FRANCESCO MONTI Bologna 1685-1768 Brescia

Diana and Endymion

Black chalk, with stumping, on light brown paper, with framing lines in brown ink and laid down on an 18th century English mount.

Inscribed N425 / ex coll RG / HCH U. / del Sole / Diana & endimion. in brown ink on the reverse of the mount.

398 x 277 mm. (15 5/8 x 10 7/8 in.)


DONATO CRETI Cremona 1671-1749 Bologna

The Head of a Warrior in a Helmet

Black chalk.

Numbered 98 in brown ink at the upper left.

Inscribed fratta in red chalk and numbered 2 in red ink on the verso.

Numbered iij 37 in brown ink on the verso.

An erased inscription in brown ink on the verso.

215 x 166 mm. (8 1/2 x 6 1/2 in.)

Watermark: Fragment of a circle with the letters C (or G?) A, together with a blank circle.



The Apostle Saint Simon Zelotes

Black and white chalk, with stumping, on faded bluegrey paper.

385 x 307 mm. (15 1/8 x 12 1/8 in.)




Venice 1729-1804 Venice

Jacob Wrestling with the Angel

Pen and brown ink.

287 x 382 mm. (11 1/4 x 15 in.)

Watermark: Three crescents with REAL


GIOVANNI ANTONIO CANAL, called CANALETTO Venice 1697-1768 Venice

A Capriccio of a Colonnade Opening onto a Courtyard of a Palace

Pen and brown ink and brown and grey wash, with touches of watercolour, with double framing lines in black ink.

Inscribed Anto Canale in pencil in the lower right margin.

379 x 302 mm. (14 7/8 x 11 7/8 in.) [sheet]




Venice 1727-1804 Venice

The Exaltation of the Sacrament

Pen and brown ink and brown wash. Signed Domo Tiepolo f. in brown ink at the lower right and numbered 39 in brown ink at the upper left.

290 x 199 mm. (11 3/8 x 7 7/8 in.)



Bologna 1764-1834 Bologna

A Young Woman and a Bearded Old Man

Pen and black ink and grey wash, backed. 239 x 279 mm. (9 3/8 x 11 in.) [sheet]

Watermark: GE & WH




Girolamo Genga

A Reclining Male Nude

PROVENANCE: Anonymous sale, Paris, Hôtel Drouot, 28 March 2019, lot 53 (as Italian School, 17th Century); Private collection, New York.

A painter and architect, Girolamo Genga was, according to Giorgio Vasari, a pupil and assistant of Luca Signorelli, working with him at Monte Oliveto Maggiore, the Duomo at Orvieto and elsewhere. He also spent some time in the studio of Pietro Perugino, where he met and came under the influence of Raphael, a fellow student in Perugino’s workshop. Although he spent some years in Florence and Siena, Genga worked mostly in Umbria. In the early years of his career he often collaborated with Timoteo Viti in Urbino, frescoing scenes from the life of Saint Martin for the Arrivabene chapel in the Duomo, commissioned in 1504, as well as providing temporary decorations for the funeral of Duke Guidobaldo I da Montefeltro in 1508 and the entrance of Leonora Gonzaga into Urbino in 1509. He also painted two frescoes for the Palazzo Petrucci in Siena, working alongside Signorelli and Pinturicchio. In September 1513 Genga received the commission for one of his most important surviving works, the altarpiece of the Dispute over the Immaculate Conception, painted for the church of Sant’Agostino in Cesena and installed there in 1520; the painting is now in the Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan. In 1518 Genga again worked with Viti on a fresco cycle for San Francesco Grande in Forlì, but by 1519 he was in Rome, where he painted a Resurrection for the Oratory of Santa Caterina da Siena. Summoned back to Urbino in 1522 by Duke Francesco Maria I della Rovere, who appointed him court architect and artist, Genga was given the task of restoring, enlarging and decorating the Villa Imperiale at Pesaro. The remainder of his career was spent mainly in Pesaro, working on architectural and artistic projects for Francesco Maria della Rovere and his successor, Guidobaldo II. For the latter he designed the church of San Giovanni Battista in Pesaro, begun in 1543 but finished after Genga’s death by his son Bartolomeo.

In his 1568 biography of the artist, Giorgio Vasari noted that Genga drew from an early age. Our present understanding of Genga as a draughtsman is largely due to the scholar Philip Pouncey, who was responsible for the identification of a number of significant drawings by this rare artist. While this addition to the still relatively small corpus of drawings by Genga cannot be related to any surviving painting or fresco by the artist, the figue type and compact pen hatching are characteristic of his work. Genga’s preference for drawing in pen and ink was established early in his career. As Furio Rinaldi has noted, ‘Genga’s habit of defining volumes in pen and ink by means of an ever more dense and expressive curvilinear crosshatching…would characterize his graphic style for the rest of his life.’

The present sheet may have been intended to represent a river god. River gods appear in several decorative mural projects by Genga for the Della Rovere family, notably in paintings for the Palazzo Ducale and the Villa Imperiale Vecchio in Pesaro. As Rinaldi has noted, ‘These images of river gods were later introduced by Genga into his designs for decorative objects created for the duke [Francesco Maria Della Rovere], such as istoriati vessels and plates.’ Such drawings include two designs for a vessel decorated with reclining river gods, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and a large drawing of an unknown mythological or allegorical subject, depicting several male nudes clambering over the figure of a colossal reclining nude woman, which is now divided into two separate sheets. One half of this sizeable drawing, which may be a design for a salver, is in the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle and the other is in the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan.

This drawing may also be compared, in figural style and technique, with several other sheets by Genga, such as a study of a kneeling nude youth in the Louvre, while similar male nudes are also found in drawings of a Battle Scene in the Kupferstichkabinett in Dresden and a General with his Army Crossing a River in the Louvre.


Girolamo da Treviso Apollo as a Musician

PROVENANCE: Galerie de Bayser, Paris, in 2010-2011; Private collection, New York.

LITERATURE: Nathalie Strasser, Dessins italiens de la Renaissance au siècle des lumières: Collection Jean Bonna, Geneva, 2010, p.92, under no.36; Paris, Galerie de Bayser, Catalogue Beaux-Arts, 2011, no.1; Paolo Ervas, Girolamo da Treviso, Saonara, 2014, p.192, no.9 (as not by Girolamo da Treviso); London, Christie’s, Old Master and British Drawings and Watercolours, Including Works from the Collection of Jean Bonna, 2 July 2019, p.12, under lot 9, fig.1.

Very little is known of the early career of Girolamo Pennacchi, known as Girolamo da Treviso. Giorgio Vasari writes that he worked in Treviso and Venice before arriving in Bologna, where he is recorded by November 1523 as having painted an altarpiece for the Confraternity of Santa Maria dei Servi. One of his first known works is a Noli Me Tangere in the church of San Giovanni in Monte in Bologna, which shows the influence of Francesco Francia and Lorenzo Costa. Early in his career Girolamo also worked as a sculptor, carving marble reliefs for the facade of the Bolognese church of San Petronio in 1524. Two years later, for the Guidotti chapel in the same church, he completed a series of eight monochrome scenes depicting the miracles of Saint Anthony of Padua. In 1528 he was in Genoa, where he contributed a fresco to the facade of the Palazzo Doria.

Girolamo is also known to have collaborated with Giulio Romano on the decoration of the Palazzo Te in Mantua, and in 1533 painted a fresco of The Virgin and Child Enthroned with Saints for the church of the Commenda in Faenza. He was back in Bologna between 1534 and 1538, when he painted one of his few surviving works in the city, a Presentation of the Virgin with Saint Thomas of Canterbury for the English chapel in San Salvatore. Perhaps as a result of this commission, Girolamo was invited by King Henry VIII to England, where he settled in 1538 and where, according to Giorgio Vasari, his work was greatly admired. He worked primarily as a military engineer for King Henry VIII, although he also seems to have produced a handful of paintings, notably an anti-papal Allegory now in the Royal Collection at Hampton Court. The artist died during the English siege of Boulogne in September 1544.

Only a handful of drawings may be securely attributed to Girolamo da Treviso, whose idiosyncratic draughtsmanship is characterized by a thorough application of white heightening and the use of prepared paper. A closely related drawing by Girolamo da Treviso of a woman playing a cittern, of similar technique and identical dimensions, was formerly in the Jean Bonna collection in Geneva and is now in a private collection in Belgium. (The ex-Bonna drawing was independently attributed to Girolamo da Treviso by both Roger Rearick and Mario di Giampaolo in 2002.) Similar in size, both works are tentatively connected to Girolamo’s lost fresco decoration of the palazzo of Andrea Odoni in Venice, where he painted the façade and courtyard between 1531 and 1532. Highly praised by Vasari and other early sources, the sophisticated fresco cycle for Odoni was later described by Carlo Ridolfi, in his Le maraviglie dell’arte, published in 1648. Ridolfi explicitly mentions figures of Apollo, Pallas and other figures painted ‘in chiaro-scuro’ in the area of the ‘pergolato’, which is likely to have been an internal balcony or courtyard within the palace. Although the Odoni decorations no longer exist, what may be a similar scheme can be found in the ceiling of the Camera dei Venti of the Palazzo Te in Mantua, executed by Girolamo a few years earlier, under the supervision of Giulio Romano, in 1527-1528. The vault of the Sala dei Venti features a series of individual figures contained in separate compartments in the coffered ceiling.

In stylistic and technical terms, this drawing may be compared with a Sacra Conversazione in the British Museum, which is a preparatory study for a painting of 1531 in the church of San Salvatore in Venice, as well as a drawing of The Archangel Gabriel in the Albertina in Vienna.



Giulio Romano

Saint Blaise, Seated and Crowned by an Angel

PROVENANCE: Charles Joseph Guillemain, Tassin-la-Demi-Lune, Lyon (Lugt 4764); Private collection, USA; Pandora Old Masters, New York, in 2001; Private collection.

LITERATURE: Janet Cox-Rearick, ‘Presentazione: Atti del Convegno “I Disegni di Giulio Romano (1499-1546)”. Miscellanea giulesca’, Quaderni di Palazzo Te, 2000, pp.10 and 12-17, fig.1 and illustrated on the cover.

EXHIBITED: New York, Pandora Old Masters, Italian Old Master Drawings, 2001, no.3.

One of the few significant artists of the 16th century to have actually been born in Rome, Giulio Romano was a painter, draughtsman, architect, designer and decorator. He was Raphael’s favourite and best pupil and rose to a position of importance in the master’s studio, assisting him on the fresco decoration of the Stanza dell’Incendio and the Loggia of Leo X in the Vatican and collaborating with him on easel pictures. After Raphael’s death in 1520, Giulio, together with Gianfrancesco Penni, inherited the master’s workshop and unfinished projects, notably the fresco decoration of the Sala di Costantino in the Vatican. In 1524, at the invitation of Federico II Gonzaga, Giulio left Rome for Mantua. He was to remain there for the rest of his career, becoming painter, designer and architect to the Gonzaga court and thoroughly dominating the artistic life of the city. His two most important projects in Mantua were the construction and extensive decoration of the Palazzo Te, executed in two phases between 1526 and 1534, and the decoration of a new suite of rooms, known as the Appartamento di Troia, in the Palazzo Ducale, completed in 1538. Giulio continued to work at the Ducal court after the death of Federico Gonzaga in 1540. For Cardinal Ercole Gonzaga, for example, he was engaged on the reconstruction and renovation of the cathedral in Mantua.

Giulio Romano’s drawings have long been admired by collectors and connoisseurs. A relatively recent addition to the corpus of drawings by the artist, the present sheet depicts the fourth century Armenian bishop Saint Blaise (known in Italy as San Biagio), who was persecuted and tortured – by having his skin flayed with iron combs – for not renouncing Christianity. The saint was eventually beheaded, along with two boys, who are shown in this drawing, one holding the iron comb. From the means of his torture Blaise became the patron saint of woolcombers and of the wool trade, and commissions for paintings of images of the saint, or of episodes from his life, for churches in Italy often came from a local guild of woolworkers.

This drawing has been studied at length by the late Janet Cox-Rearick. As she wrote, ‘In this drawing Giulio Romano depicted the late third or early fourth century martyr, San Biagio (St. Blaise), an Armenian bishop who was persecuted by Emperor Diocletian…The idea of a monumental, enthroned bishop saint with children, recalls the enthroned popes such as Pope Sylvester with an Allegory of Fortitude that Giulio painted in 1524 in the Sala di Costantino (Vatican). In 1534 Giulio repeated the concept in San Zeno with two Angels, part of the grandiose fresco cycle of the Life of the Virgin in the choir of Verona Cathedral. The saint in the present drawing is remarkably close in type to San Zeno and the conceit of the bishop saint, holding his crosier, accompanied by two boys, is the same in both works.’ Of the present sheet, Cox-Rearick has further noted that ‘Giulio first sketched the group in pen, then added light areas of wash throughout, completing the modeling only in the imposing, sculpturesque figure of the saint, whose draperies and head are richly shaded in a darker wash; he also added some darker wash to the boy with the currycomb, but left the other boy and the angel less finished. The drawing is typical of the modelli that Giulio made in Mantua in the 1530s, an invention that would then have been enlarged in a cartoon by the master or one of his assistants.’

No painting or fresco by Giulio Romano that can be related to this drawing of Saint Blaise survives. However, as Cox-Rearick has pointed out, ‘Giulio made two other drawings in these years [ie. the 1530s] depicting San Biagio. One is a workshop variation on the composition of the present sheet (Musée Condé, Chantilly); the other, tighter and more convoluted in its draughtsmanship, is an autograph modello showing a dramatic scene of the saint’s martyrdom (Windsor Castle, Royal Library). These three drawings strongly suggest that in the mid-to-late 1530s Giulio was commissioned to design a fresco or other work depicting San Biagio. Such a project must have included an image of the


saint enthroned, as he appears in the present drawing and in the Chantilly workshop version. But what church or what patron might have commissioned Giulio to depict this particular saint? One candidate is the church of SS. Nazaro and Celso in Verona, a city where Giulio worked in the mid-1530s; the church has a chapel of San Biagio, it is decorated with frescoes of his life, and it houses the relic of his body. Another possibility is the church of San Biagio in Mantua. This was commissioned by Giulio’s patron, Duke Federico Gonzaga, who had torn down a ruined medieval church of San Biagio near Palazzo Te, and in 1534 asked Giulio to design a replacement. The new church was destroyed in 1595, but a document of 1576 records that there was a painting over the high altar. The present drawing, San Biagio Enthroned with two Boys by Giulio Romano, the presumptive author of the altarpiece, might well have been preparatory to this Gonzaga altarpiece.’ It has also been tentatively suggested that the present sheet, as well as the related drawing of the same subject at Windsor Castle, may have been a design for a three-dimensional object, such as a small bronze sculpture.



Recto: Study of Male Nudes, One Tied to a Tree Verso: Study of a Reclining Male Nude

PROVENANCE: Possibly Thomas Howard, 14th Earl of Arundel, and by descent to his son, William Howard, 1st Viscount Stafford; Probably Count Antonio Maria Zanetti, Venice; Thence by descent until c.1787; Galerie de Bayser, Paris; Private collection, New York.

Giorgio Vasari praises Parmigianino as, literally, a born draughtsman (‘fusse nato, si puo dire, con i penelli in mano’), and his appreciation of the artist’s drawings was shared by collectors and connoisseurs well into the 17th and 18th centuries. One of the most prolific draughtsmen of the Cinquecento, Parmigianino produced everything from quick sketches to figural and compositional studies, as well as landscapes, portrait studies and finished presentation drawings. Almost a thousand drawings by the artist survive today, many of which were copied or engraved, and the elegant, graceful style expressed in his drawings and designs for prints and chiaroscuro woodcuts was to prove influential on a later generation of artists.

The study of a male nude tied to a tree on the recto of the present sheet is recorded in a chiaroscuro woodcut of Saint Sebastian, dated 1723, by Anton Maria Zanetti the Elder. During the artist’s lifetime and later in the 16th century, and again in the 18th century, several of Parmigianino’s drawings were reproduced in the form of prints or chiaroscuro woodcuts. A large number of the later chiaroscuro woodcuts were produced by the 18th century Venetian artist, engraver, critic and collector Count Anton (or Antonio) Maria Zanetti (1680-1757), who assembled a large collection of some 130 drawings by Parmigianino, most of which he acquired from the Arundel collection in London in the early 1720s. As the scholar A. E. Popham has noted of Zanetti’s chiaroscuro woodcuts after his Parmigianino drawings, ‘His object was not to produce facsimiles, but prints comparable to those which had been made in the sixteenth century by the first practitioners of chiaroscuro woodcut, Ugo da Carpi, Antonio da Trento and the rest, whose technique he prided himself on having revived. He was capable of adding limbs or even heads to unfinished drawings as well as backgrounds of his own invention…though on occasion he produced reasonably accurate facsimiles. It can be assumed that the majority of them are based on genuine drawings by Parmigianino.’ The other figure group on the recto of this sheet, a study of a male nude supporting another, is very close to two similar figures in a drawing of seven gods and three goddesses in the British Museum.

The black chalk drawing of a male nude on the verso of this sheet appears to be a study of the crucified Christ. However, it may be noted that the legs of the figure are very close to those in a lost drawing by Parmigianino that is recorded in a later etching by Francesco Rosaspina (c.1762-1841). The print was part of an album of printed facsimiles of Parmigianino drawings, all by Rosaspina, that was acquired in 1919 by the British Museum. Parmigianino’s lost original drawing was a study for the legs of Nero, seated on a throne, in a composition of The Martyrdom of Saint Paul of c.1525-1527 that was the basis for a chiaroscuro woodcut by Antonio da Trento. A somewhat similar study of legs in also found in a chalk study by Parmigianino of two seated figures in the Galleria dell’Accademia in Venice.



Amico Aspertini

A Group of Men Fighting

PROVENANCE: Anonymous sale, Zurich, Koller, 19 June 2020, lot 3401 (as Attributed to Aspertini); Private collection, New York.

EXHIBITED: Paris, Nicolas Schwed, Dessins anciens et du XIXème siècle, 2022, no.1.

‘An eccentric man of extravagant brain, whose figures, executed by him throughout all Italy, but particularly in Bologna, where he spent most of his time, are equally eccentric and even mad, if one may say so.’ This was Giorgio Vasari’s description of the work of Amico Aspertini, a statement that reflects something of this Bolognese artist’s imaginative, often fantastic style. Born into a family of artists that included his father Giovanni Antonio and elder brother Guido, Aspertini is thought to have completed his apprenticeship in the studio of Francesco Francia. He was in Rome in 1496, accompanying his father, who had been commissioned to paint organ shutters for St. Peter’s. Aspertini’s Roman sojourn instilled in him a lifelong fascination with the forms of classical antiquity. This is best seen in an early sketchbook of drawings after Roman ruins, known as the Codex Wolfegg and now in BadenWürttemburg, which is datable to 1503 at the latest, as well as in two later sketchbooks of antique motifs in the British Museum, compiled in the 1530s.

In his enthusiastic appreciation of the Antique, Aspertini was also influenced by the Bolognese painter and antiquarian Jacopo Ripanda. Vasari notes that Aspertini travelled extensively around Italy, making drawings after the work of earlier artists, though not always with discrimination (‘he went through all Italy drawing and copying every work of painting or relief, whether good or bad, on which account he became something of an adept in invention’). Vasari also describes Aspertini as ambidextrous: ‘He used to paint with both hands at the same time, holding in one the brush with the bright colour, and in the other that with the dark.’ In Bologna, Aspertini gained the patronage of the Bentivoglio family, for whom he painted frescoes in the Oratorio di Santa Cecilia, working alongside Francia and Lorenzo Costa. His interest in all’ antica motifs often found expression in his work, particularly in decorative fresco projects and the monochrome reliefs which adorned the facades of several houses in Bologna. Aspertini became one of the leading artists in Bologna, receiving important commissions for paintings in such major churches as San Petronio, San Giacomo Maggiore and San Michele in Bosco. He also decorated several palace facades in the city and was an accomplished portrait painter.

Aspertini’s numerous drawings after the antique were usually taken not from statues, but from ancient sarcophagi or reliefs, and this previously unknown drawing may have been inspired by, or derived from, such a classical source. Indeed, an interest in this type of subject matter was characteristic of the artist. As one scholar has noted, ‘By his very selection of thematic material Amico’s vehement spirit asserts its natural affinity for battle scenes or other violent actions, as well as for sensual elements of Bacchic imagery…It is the primitive aspect of human life in antiquity that speaks to Amico more strongly than its rationalism, through raging conflicts with Amazons, centaurs, barbarians and wild animals, or through evocations of untamed satyrs, Pans and marine creatures.’

Marzia Faietti has confirmed the attribution of the present sheet to Aspertini. The drawing may be tentatively dated to about the same time as the British Museum albums; that is, between 1531 and 1537. Many of the drawings in one of the London albums, known as ‘London I’ and bearing the date 1535, show similar groups of nude men fighting or engaged in such activities as hunting. In style, technique and handling the present sheet may be compared with several other drawings by the artist, such as a Battle of the Centaurs and Satyrs in the Uffizi in Florence, which is likewise on brown prepared paper and of similar dimensions to the present sheet. The nude figure types in this drawing are particularly characteristic of Aspertini and can be seen in such studies as an Adam and Eve formerly in the C. R. Rudolf collection in London and a drawing of Two Nude Figures and Part of a Third in the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.



Attributed to Battista Franco A Dromedary

PROVENANCE: Jacques Hollander, Ohain, Belgium; By descent to Galila Hollander, Brussels; The Hollander sale (‘Le cabinet de curiosités de Jacques et Galila Hollander’), Paris, Christie’s, 16 October 2013, lot 37; Private collection.

This drawing of a single-humped Arabian camel, or dromedary, is a version or copy of a red chalk drawing by the Venetian painter Battista Franco in the collection of the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan, which has been dated by Anne Varick Lauder to the late 1530s or early 1540s. The dromedary seen here does not, however, appear in any extant paintings by Franco. Further studies of dromedaries by Franco, executed in pen and ink, are found on both sides of a drawing in the British Museum.

Dromedaries appear only very rarely in 16th century Italian art. This drawing can be compared with two other red chalk studies of dromedaries of the period; one in the collection of Christ Church in Oxford and the other in the Louvre in Paris. All three drawings have, at one time or another, been attributed to the 16th century Florentine sculptor and draughtsman Baccio Bandinelli (1488-1560). Another drawing of a dromedary of the same approximate date is found in a study by Parmigianino (1503-1540) of the animal at rest, in the Goldman collection in Chicago.

Alternative attributions to an artist in the circles of Andrea del Sarto (1486-1530) or Francesco Salviati (15101563) have been suggested for the present sheet.


Taddeo Zuccaro

Recto: Two Studies of a Kneeling Figure

Verso: Jupiter Seated on a Cloud with an Eagle

PROVENANCE: Anonymous sale, London, Sotheby’s, 18 November 1982, lot 23; Private collection.

LITERATURE: J. A. Gere, ‘Taddeo Zuccaro: Addenda and Corrigenda’, Master Drawings, Autumn 1995, pp.312313, no.264-H, figs.94 and 95 (as location unknown).

Among the most gifted Mannerist artists working in Rome, Taddeo Zuccaro had a relatively brief career, lasting less than twenty years. Little survives of his work before 1553, and this phase of his career can only really be studied in his surviving drawings. Zuccaro’s earliest independent paintings show the particular influence of Polidoro da Caravaggio and include several facade decorations of a type made popular by him, the most important of which was at the Palazzo Mattei. After a brief trip to Urbino, where he failed to complete the decoration of the choir of the Duomo left unfinished by Battista Franco, Zuccaro returned to Rome in 1553. There he immediately began work on his first major commission, the decoration of the Mattei chapel in the church of Santa Maria della Consolazione. Between 1556 and 1558 he began work on a fresco cycle in the Frangipani chapel in San Marcello al Corso, a project completed after his death by his younger brother Federico. The last decade of his career found Zuccaro enjoying the extensive patronage of the Farnese family, who commissioned from him the decoration of the Palazzo Farnese in Rome and their large villa at Caprarola. He was often assisted by his brother Federico, whose extensive travels after Taddeo’s early death at the age of thirty-seven served to disseminate a somewhat diluted version of the elder artist’s style throughout Italy.

Taddeo Zuccaro was a superb draughtsman, whose drawings reveal him to be a highly original and inventive artist. His figure studies, in particular, are drawn with a vitality and exuberance that ranks them among the most remarkable graphic statements of Roman Mannerism. Yet, as the Zuccaro scholar John Gere has noted, ‘though he was a draughtsman of unusual range and versatility to whom the act of drawing came naturally and who was able


to express his ideas with the utmost fluency in this medium, the impression made by his drawings as a whole is that the drawing itself was never the end-product. All of them, from the rough, sometimes incoherent, pen and ink scribbles in which he noted down his thoughts as fast as they came into his head, to the sculptural studies of single figures highly wrought with the brush-point, are part of the preparatory material leading up to a painting.’ Given the scarcity of easel paintings by Zuccaro which survive, as well as the fact that much of the large-scale decorative projects which he designed were painted by assistants, it remains through his surviving drawings that his talents are perhaps best appreciated today.

The kneeling pose of the figure shown twice in red chalk on the recto of the present sheet is similar to that of figure of Christ in the ceiling painting of The Washing of the Feet of the Disciples, part of the fresco decoration of the Mattei Chapel in the church of Santa Maria della Consolazione in Rome, painted between 1553 and 1556 and Taddeo Zuccaro’s most significant surviving work.

As Gere has noted of the present sheet, ‘On the verso, the gesture of Jupiter’s right hand suggests that he is about to hurl his thunderbolt. An eagle with the same curiously long neck is the attribute of St. John the Evangelist in a study [in the Louvre] for one of the pendentives in the Mattei chapel.’ The verso of the sheet also includes, at the lower right, a landscape with a praying saint, visible when the sheet is turned vertically. As Gere points out, ‘The slight sketch of a landscape, with a kneeling St. Jerome (?) is exceptional in [Taddeo Zuccaro’s] work, and may be a copy of a painting or drawing of an earlier period.’


Attributed to Taddeo Zuccaro Saint Roch

PROVENANCE: Sir Peter Lely, London (Lugt 2092); Probably his posthumous sales, London, Richard Tompson, 16 April 1688 onwards or London, Parry Walton, 15 November 1694 onwards; Sir Thomas Lawrence, London (Lugt 2445); Purchased after Lawrence’s death, together with the rest of his collection, by Samuel Woodburn, London, in 1834; His posthumous sale, London, Christie’s, 4-8 June 1860, part of an album of drawings by Taddeo and Federico Zuccaro sold as lot 1074 (‘ZUCCHERO (F. AND T.) – A most interesting Series of 20 Drawings, representing Incidents in the Life of Taddeo Zuccaro, drawn by his Brother Frederick; followed by 53 Specimens of their Works, in Bistre, Chalk, &c., consisting of Original Designs and Studies for some of their principal Pictures. Handsomely bound in red morocco. A superb and highly important Collection.’, bt. Phillipps for £63 gns.); Sir Thomas Phillipps, London and Thirlestaine House, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire; By descent to his grandson, Thomas Fitzroy Phillipps Fenwick, Thirlestaine House, Cheltenham; The album acquired from him in 1930 by Abraham Simon Wolf Rosenbach, Philadelphia; The Philip H. and A. S. W. Rosenbach Foundation, Philadelphia; The album acquired from them by the British Rail Pension Fund in 1978; Their sale, New York, Sotheby’s, 11 January 1990, lot 30 (as Attributed to Taddeo Zuccaro); Private collection, Massachusetts.

LITERATURE: John Gere, ‘The Lawrence-Phillipps-Rosenbach “Zuccaro Album”’, Master Drawings, Summer 1970, p.134, no.29, fig.5 (as Zuccaro Studio).

EXHIBITED: Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, Splendor and Elegance: European Decorative Arts and Drawings from the Horace Wood Brock Collection, 2009, no.119 (as Taddeo Zuccaro).

While this fine drawing was included, as ‘Attributed to Taddeo Zuccaro’, in the 1990 sale of drawings by the Zuccari from the Lawrence-Woodburn collection and later the British Rail Pension Fund, it was aptly noted by Gere in the auction catalogue that although ‘Previously catalogued as a studio work…The possibility that the drawing is by Taddeo himself cannot be entirely dismissed. The penwork seems compatible with that of some late drawings by him and the application of wash is particularly delicate and sensitive.’ However, Gere chose not to include the present sheet in the addenda to his catalogue of Taddeo Zuccaro’s drawings, published in Master Drawings magazine in 1995.


Nevertheless, it may be noted that the present sheet is of high quality and is very close, as both Gere and, more recently, Marco Simone Bolzoni have noted, to the elder Zuccaro’s manner in several details. Similarities in handling and technique may be noted with such drawings by Taddeo as a compositional study of Ananias Healing Paul’s Blindness in the Uffizi, formerly attributed to Federico Zuccaro but given to his brother Taddeo by Gere in his 1995 article. As Bolzoni has pointed out, however, certain passages in the present sheet, such as the tree at the right, the hands of the saint and the structure of his face, are not wholly convincing as by Taddeo.

The first known owner of this drawing was the 17th century portrait painter Sir Peter Lely, whose renowned collection of nearly ten thousand drawings was dispersed at auction in 1688 and 1694. The present sheet was later in the collection of the portrait painter Sir Thomas Lawrence, who assembled one of the single greatest collections of Old Master drawings ever seen in England. Four years after Lawrence’s death, his collection was acquired by the art dealer and collector Samuel Woodburn. The present sheet was included in an album, assembled by Woodburn, of over seventy drawings – mainly by Taddeo and Federico Zuccaro – from Lawrence’s collection. In 1860, several years after Woodburn’s death in 1853, many of the drawings from Lawrence’s collection that were still in his possession, including the ‘Zuccaro album’, were sold by his heirs at auction in London. The album was acquired at the Lawrence-Woodburn sale in 1860 by bibliophile and collector Sir Thomas Phillipps, whose collection passed by descent to his grandson Thomas Fitzroy Phillipps Fenwick. The album of Zuccaro drawings was purchased from Phillipps Fenwick in 1930 by Dr. A. S. W. Rosenbach, an American dealer in rare books and manuscripts. While six drawings from the album were sold to the collector Janos Scholz and are now in the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York, the remainder of the album remained intact until it was acquired in 1978 by the British Rail Pension Fund.


Florentine or Emilian School, 16th Century Four Studies of the Heads of Horses

PROVENANCE: Private collection, New York.

A tentative attribution to the Emilian painter Lelio Orsi (1511-1587) has been suggested.


Paolo Veronese Sheet of Figure Studies

PROVENANCE: Anonymous sale, Paris, Hôtel Drouot, 18 March 2005, lot 10 (as Attributed to Veronese); Private collection, New York.

Paolo Veronese has been aptly described by the scholar James Byam Shaw as ‘the most distinguished and influential draughtsman of the sixteenth century in Venice – more distinguished as a draughtsman than Titian or Tintoretto or Bassano, and one whose influence spread, through the drawings of Palma Giovane, of Sebastiano Ricci, even of Thornhill in England, over more than a century’. His drawings have always been admired by collectors and connoisseurs, although only between 150 and 200 sheets by or reasonably attributed to the artist are known today, from a career that lasted some forty years.

This lively sheet of sketches – which was once folded into four, perhaps to be sent as a letter – is typical of Veronese’s working method in its seemingly random arrangement of figures and compositional groupings. As Byam Shaw has written of such drawings, ‘Veronese’s brilliant method of first sketching with the pen and then adding patches of grey and brown wash, seemingly careless but in fact applied with great skill and judgement, to clarify the forms or groups, linking them, on a large sheet of paper, into an elegant pattern, chain-like, serpentine or circular, [is] often a thing of abstract beauty in itself…sometimes Paolo shows the same flair in combining on one sheet sketches for different subjects.’


The two sketches of the Virgin and Child at the upper right of the recto, as well as the three studies of a reclining male figure with his right arm raised at the bottom of the sheet, may be tentatively related to Veronese’s altarpiece of The Virgin Appearing to Saint Luke, painted for the church of San Luca in Venice in c.1581. At the left of the present sheet, delineated by a part of a framing line, is a composition depicting a preaching(?) figure standing above a crowd of onlookers; the same preaching figure is studied again at the right edge of the sheet. Among stylistically comparable drawings is a Sheet of Studies for a Visitation, Saint Nicholas in Glory, Faith and Charity, formerly in the Franz Koenigs collection at the Boijmans-van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam.

There are extensive inscriptions at the upper centre and right of the sheet which, though difficult to decipher with any accuracy, seem to refer to a costing of various projects. On both sides of the sheet are further inscriptions in a different 16th century hand, some of which appear to be superimposed over autograph texts; the inscriptions on the verso appear to be a list of some sort, with several items crossed out. Neither text appears to be in Veronese’s handwriting, however, as it is known from surviving autograph letters. A similar list with crossed-out items, also not in the hand of the artist, is found on the verso of a drawing by Veronese in the Louvre depicting Count Giuseppe da Porto with his son, which is a preparatory study for a painted portrait of c.1553-1554. The practice of drawing on the back of a list written by someone else is not unusual for the artist, who also often drew on the backs of letters and other documents. As Richard Cocke has pointed out, ‘Veronese often seems to have been short of paper. He used someone else’s notes for the Study of Count Giuseppe da Porto and his son Adriano, letters to him [for other sheets of sketches]…[as well as] a draft of a letter he never sent…and a page of his own accounts…’


Camillo Procaccini

The Apostles Gathered Around the Tomb of the Virgin

PROVENANCE: P. & D. Colnaghi, London, in 1989; Private collection, Massachusetts.

EXHIBITED: New York, Colnaghi, Master Drawings, 1989, no.7; Stanford University, Cantor Center for Visual Arts, Classic Taste: Drawings and Decorative Arts from the Collection of Horace Brock, 2000.

Born into a family of Bolognese artists that included his father Ercole and younger brothers Giulio Cesare and Carlo Antonio, Camillo Procaccini was trained in the late Mannerist artistic milieu of Bologna. He was, for a time, a colleague and contemporary of the Carracci, in whose academy he taught. Procaccini undertook study trips to Parma, to see the works of Correggio, and to Rome, where he was especially inspired by the frescoes of Raphael and Michelangelo. All of these influences are evident in his first major independent work, the fresco decoration of the apse of San Prospero in Reggio Emilia, painted between 1585 and 1587 and much praised upon its completion. In 1587 Procaccini moved to Milan, at the invitation of his Milanese patron Count Pirro Visconti Borromeo, and was joined there by his father and brothers. Procaccini enjoyed a highly successful career in Milan for the next forty years. An altarpiece of The Martyrdom of Saint Agnes, painted in 1591 for the Duomo, and organ shutters painted for the same church the following year, are among his most important works in Milan. Together with his brothers, Procaccini also worked on the decoration of the church of Sant’Angelo in Milan for over twenty years. The artist came to dominate the artistic scene in Milan in the latter half of the 16th century, painting altarpieces for almost every major church in the city, and receiving important commissions for easel pictures. Among the significant projects of Procaccini’s late career were the decoration of the nave and apse of the Duomo in Piacenza, painted in collaboration with Ludovico Carracci between 1605 and 1609, and the vault frescoes of the choir of Santi Paolo e Barnaba in Milan, completed in 1625. The scale, complexity and inventiveness of his work so impressed the 18th century biographer and historian Luigi Lanzi that he described Procaccini as ‘the Vasari and the Zuccaro of Lombardy’.

A gifted draughtsman, Procaccini produced a number of highly finished drawings – studies of male nudes, mythological scenes and grotesque heads – which seem to have been intended as independent works of art for the collector’s market. That his drawings were popular among collectors in his lifetime is seen in the comments


of a contemporary connoisseur, Girolamo Borsieri, who noted that ‘To obtain drawings by Procaccini…is more the fortune of a great prince than the reward of a private, albeit worthy connoisseur...I would almost stop trying to find them.’

The attribution of this drawing to Camillo Procaccini was first made by Philip Pouncey, who noted that it is closely related to a slightly smaller oil sketch of the same composition in the Staatliche Museen in Berlin. Both works were in turn related by Pouncey to a very large, curved rectangular painting of The Apostles at the Tomb of the Virgin, situated above the choir stalls in the apse of the church of Santa Maria Maggiore in Bergamo, commissioned in 1594 and completed a few years later. Sometime afterwards Pouncey noticed that the bozzetto in Berlin is in fact closer to the group of apostles at the bottom of a later work by the artist, a large painting of The Assumption of the Virgin painted in 1612 for the Milanese church of Sant’Alessandro. Since the present sheet has framing lines in brown ink, however, it is likely that it was made for the Bergamo painting and was reused, with little variation, for the altarpiece in Milan.


Alessandro Casolani

Recto: Studies of the Legs and Torso of a Nude Woman, with a Separate Study of the Head of a Woman Verso: Studies of Arms and Hands, and the Body of a Child

PROVENANCE: Jacques Fryszman, Boulogne Billancourt; His sale, Paris, Hôtel Drouot, 18 June 1997, lot 46; P. & D. Colnaghi, London, in 1998; William ‘Angus’ Shorey, Chicago; Thence by descent; Anonymous sale, New York, Sotheby’s, 27 January 2021, lot 46; Stephen Ongpin Fine Art, London; Private collection, London.

EXHIBITED: New York and London, Colnaghi, An Exhibition of Master Drawings, 1998, no.15.

Older than Francesco Vanni and Ventura Salimbeni, Alessandro Casolani shares with them an important position in Sienese painting of the late Mannerist period. He was trained in the studios of Arcangelo Salimbeni and Cristofano Roncalli in Siena, and accompanied the latter to Rome in 1578. Back in Siena by 1581, his first documented work there is a large painting for the Oratorio di Santa Caterina in Fontebranda, while another early commission was an altarpiece of The Adoration of the Shepherds for the church of Santa Maria dei Servi. Religious works make up the bulk of Casolani’s oeuvre, both in the form of church altarpieces and easel pictures for private patrons, as well as more elaborate projects such as the decoration of the chapel of the Villa Bartalini at Monistero, near Siena. Casolani worked in and around Siena for most of his career, although between 1599 and 1600 he was in Pavia, where he contributed to the decoration of the Sagrestia Nuova of the Certosa. He remained closely associated with Vanni and Salimbeni, collaborating with the latter on the decoration of the Oratory of the Sienese church of Santissima Trinità. His last years were occupied with commissions for altarpieces and frescoes for such Sienese churches as Santi Quirico e Giulitta and the Carmine.

The use of both red and black chalk is a characteristic feature of Casolani’s draughtsmanship. The small study of a woman’s head drawn in red chalk on the recto is typical of the artist’s sometimes caricature-like physiognomical types, as found both in his drawings (such as a study of Four Heads in the Biblioteca Comunale in Siena), and in paintings such as the Virgin Annunciate in the collection of the Monte dei Paschi di Siena.


Alessandro Casolani

Two Studies of a Winged Putto

PROVENANCE: The Earls of Crawford and Balcarres, Balcarres House, Colinsburgh, Fife; By descent to a private collection, Wiltshire.

As with his paintings, very few of Casolani’s drawings have been published or exhibited. Nevertheless, he does not seem to have been as prolific a draughtsman as either Francesco Vanni or Ventura Salimbeni. This may have


been because, as Flaminio Borghesi, the agent of Cardinal Leopoldo de’ Medici in Siena, noted of Casolani in a letter of 1673, ‘by his very nature he was not (so they tell me) very fond of drawing, but instead made use of every little bit, correcting them and revising them as he painted.’ With his distinctive, somewhat idiosyncratic style as a draughtsman, as the scholar Marco Ciampolini has noted, ‘Casolani succeeded in creating a graphic language that was both very personal and powerfully striking.’ The vast majority of the artist’s surviving drawings are today in the collection of the Biblioteca Comunale in Siena, while many others are in the Uffizi and the Louvre.

The pose of the winged putti in this drawing is similar to that of an angel in Casolani’s monumental altarpiece of The Adoration of the Shepherds, signed and dated 1596, in the Duomo in Siena, as well as in another, equally large Adoration of the Shepherds in the Collegiata dei Santi Simone e Giuda in the town of Radicondoli, datable to c.1590. Similar angels also appear in The Decapitation of Saint John the Baptist, painted in the first years of the 17th century and today in the church of Santi Niccolò e Lucia in Casteldelpiano and a Martyrdom of Saint Bartholomew, painted in 1604 for the Chiesa del Carmine in Siena.

A closely related drawing by Casolani of two winged putti, of similar dimensions and technique, recently appeared at auction and is now in an English private collection.


Attributed to Annibale Carracci

A Man Seated on a Ledge, Accompanied by a Putto

PROVENANCE: Francesco Angeloni, Rome; Pierre Mignard, Rome and Paris; Pierre Crozat, Paris; His posthumous sale, Paris, 10 April – 13 May 1741 [lot unidentified, bt. Mariette]; Pierre-Jean Mariette, Paris (Lugt 2097); His posthumous sale, Paris, Hôtel d’Aligre, 15 November 1775 – 30 January 1776, probably part of lot 300 (‘CARRACHE. (Annibal) Bolog…Vingt-trois feuilles, contenant diverses Têtes, Enfants, Plafonds & autres Etudes, à la sanguine, à la pierre noire & à la plume.’ bt. Julien de Parme, Mercier and Tersan); Either Jean-Antoine Julien, called Julien de Parme, Charles-André Mercier, or Charles-Philippe Campion, Abbé de Tersan, Paris; Amable Guillaume Prosper Brugière, Baron de Barante, Château de Barante, Dorat, nr. Thiers; Thence by descent at the Château de Barante until 2016; Barante sale, Clermont-Ferrand, Hôtel des Ventes, 5 November 2016, lot 9; Private collection.

LITERATURE: Pierre Rosenberg, ‘Les Carrache e Mariette’ in Marco Riccòmini, ed., Scritti per Eugenio: 27 testi per Eugenio Riccòmini, pp.87-89, fig.12; Pierre Rosenberg, Les dessins de la collection Mariette: Écoles italienne et espagnole, Paris, 2019, Vol.I, p.253, no.I349 (as Attributed to Annibale Carracci).

This drawing is unrelated to any extant decorative scheme by Annibale Carracci, although its draughtsmanship is close to the drawings of the artist’s Roman period. Despite its provenance among to the contents of Carracci’s studio, however, recent scholars have cast doubt on the attribution of this drawing to the artist himself. Carel van Tuyll suggested a designation as ‘Attributed to Annibale Carracci’, while Babette Bohn has rejected the attribution to Annibale entirely.

The present sheet has a long and illustrious provenance, which can be traced back to the 17th century. The first recorded owner of the drawing was the Roman antiquarian Francesco Angeloni (1587-1652), who acquired, from the contents of the studio of Annibale Carracci, a very large group of some six hundred drawings by the Carracci, including numerous studies for the Farnese Gallery. After Angeloni’s death, part of his collection of Carracci drawings was purchased in Rome by the French painter Pierre Mignard (1612-1695), who brought the group to France in 1657 and assembled it into three albums containing a total of 332 sheets. It was probably at this time that the drawings were numbered in the same distinctive fashion, usually in the lower right corner of each sheet. Two of Mignard’s albums of Carracci drawings were later acquired by the connoisseur and eminent collector Pierre Crozat (1665-1740). Like all of the Carracci drawings from the two Mignard albums, this drawing is next documented in the collection of the renowned Parisian connoisseur and collector Pierre-Jean Mariette (1694-1774), who acquired a large number of important drawings from the estate sale of Crozat’s collection in 1741.


Mariette’s enormous collection of over nine thousand drawings was dispersed at auction in Paris between November 1775 and January 1776. The present sheet was part of a group of twenty-three drawings by Annibale Carracci sold as one lot on the 16th of January 1776, for the sum of 168 livres and 19 sols. The contents of the lot were divided among three collectors; Jean-Antoine Julien, called Julien de Parme (1736-1799), who bought eight of the drawings for 45 livres and 19 sols, the art dealer Charles-André Mercier (1741-1786), who purchased seven drawings for 60 livres and 1 sol, and Charles-Philippe Campion, the Abbé de Tersan (1737-1819), who bought eight drawings for 62 livres and 19 sols. It is not known which of the three owned the present sheet, that eventually entered the collection of the 19th century French politician, statesman and historian Amable Guillaume Prosper Brugière, Baron de Barante (1782-1866), with whose descendants it remained until 2016.


Avanzino Nucci

Aeneas and the Cumaean Sibyl

PROVENANCE: Cesare Frigerio, Milan (Lugt 4363); Herbert List, Munich (Lugt 4063); Anonymous sale, London, Sotheby’s, 14 April 1986, lot 227; Margot Gordon, New York, in 1986; Private collection, Massachusetts.

LITERATURE: Jak Katalan, ‘Avanzino Nucci and the Polidoro Album’, Master Drawings, Summer 1990, pp.176177, fig.5.

EXHIBITED: New York, Margot Gordon and Rome, Marcello Aldega, Italian Drawings of XVI Century, 1986, no.13.

Among the less well-known exponents of the late Mannerist fresco tradition in Rome, Avanzino Nucci was a student of Niccolò Circignani, called Il Pomarancio. He is thought to have come from the small town of Gualdo Tadino, not far from Città di Castello, since a drawing by him in the Uffizi is signed ‘Avanzino Nucci da Gualdo’. Between 1595 and 1599 Nucci worked in Naples, where in 1596 he painted a fresco cycle depicting the history of the Carthusian order for the monastery of San Martino. He also worked at Santi Severino e Sossio and, with Belisario Corenzio, in the church of the Annunziata. Upon his return to Rome, Nucci continued to receive commissions for altarpieces and frescoes, although very little of this work survives today. A Baptism of Constantine is in the church of San Silvestro al Quirinale, and old guidebooks mention paintings by Nucci in several other Roman churches, including Santa Maria in Aracoeli, Sant’Agostino, San Giuseppe dei Falegnami and San Marcello al Corso. A Virgin and Child with Saints, signed and dated 1620, is in Serrasanquirico, near Ancona.

Nucci’s distinctive draughtsmanship – notably a preference for pen and ink with extensive white heightening on blue or grey-green paper, which gives his drawings a highly finished appearance – led the scholar Philip Pouncey to assemble a group of some fifty drawings by the artist under the provisional name of the ‘pseudo-Bernardo Castello’, reflecting their superficial similarities with the drawings of that Genoese artist. In 1967, however, Pouncey was able to identify the artist on the basis of a preparatory study in Berlin for a figure in the San Silvestro altarpiece of The Baptism of Constantine. Pouncey’s attribution of this group of drawings to the gifted but littleknown Avanzino Nucci was characteristic of his pioneering approach towards the study of 16th century Italian draughtsmanship.

A typical and attractive example of Nucci’s manner of drawing, the present sheet remains unrelated to any known painting or fresco; this is not unusual, however, given the paucity of surviving works by the artist. The sculptural drapery of the figures is also a feature of Nucci’s drawn oeuvre.



Palma Giovane

A Sheet of Figure Studies with the Virgin or a Female Saint, A Man Kneeling Before a Saint, and Several Figures Before a Lion

PROVENANCE: The Earls of Crawford and Balcarres, Balcarres House, Colinsburgh, Fife; By descent to a private collection, Wiltshire.

Known as Palma Giovane to distinguish him from his great-uncle, the painter Palma Vecchio, Jacopo Negretti studied in Pesaro and Urbino before completing his studies in Rome, where he spent several years. On his return to Venice in 1573 he may have worked in the studio of Titian, completing the Pietà left unfinished at the master’s death in 1576. To the influence of Titian was added that of Tintoretto and Veronese, which Palma combined with his experiences of Roman Mannerism to create what was to be his own distinctive style. His first important commission came in 1578, when he provided three paintings for the ceiling of the Sala di Maggior Consiglio in the Palazzo Ducale in Venice. A prolific painter and draughtsman, Palma Giovane enjoyed a long career and received a large number of important commissions in Venice, particularly after the deaths of Tintoretto and Veronese. As well as providing altarpieces and ceiling paintings for numerous Venetian churches, Palma painted a cycle of pictures for the Ospedaletto dei Crociferi between 1583 and 1592 – a rare example in Venice of an entire cycle of paintings entrusted to one artist alone – and continued to contribute to the extensive redecoration of the various rooms of the Palazzo Ducale. By the beginning of the 17th century he was firmly established as the leading painter in Venice, receiving commissions from patrons throughout Italy and beyond.

Palma Giovane was an inveterate draughtsman, and more drawings by him survive than by any other Venetian artist of the Cinquecento. Indeed, the 17th century biographer Carlo Ridolfi wrote of Palma that ‘the drawings which he made in various techniques from the Old and the New Testament and from which he drew inspiration for his compositions were innumerable, and he turned out also many drawings just by caprice. Hardly had the table cloth been removed after his meals when he asked for the pencil, all the time formulating some idea, and many of such drawings still exist.’

As the scholar Andrew Robison has recently noted, ‘Palma effortlessly filled sheet after sheet with pen drawings showing constantly varied presentations of primarily religious subjects...Palma’s many drawings produced visual resources he could use or revisit for years to feed the prodigious output of paintings from his hand, and from his studio.’ While this drawing is a fine and typical example of Palma’s spirited draughtsmanship, none of the three separate studies on the sheet can be definitively related to any surviving painting or fresco by the artist. The figure of the Virgin (or a female saint) at the top of the sheet, for example, appears in a similar pose in several works by Palma, but in each case with significant differences from the figure in this drawing.


Palma Giovane

The Risen Christ

PROVENANCE: Nicolas Schwed, Paris; Private collection, Massachusetts.

Palma Giovane’s drawings have long been admired by collectors. The 18th century French connoisseur AntoineJoseph Dézallier d’Argenville wrote of the artist that ‘There is nothing more spirited than his drawings: his pen… is fine & light; it gives off imaginative fireworks, a vivacity of genius that has few equals.’ Similarly, the 18th century English collector Henry Reveley noted of Palma that ‘His drawings have great merit. They are in a free slight manner: the figures are usually outlined with a pen, and washed; though others are penned only, with a kind of ragged stroke: his most finished ones are heightened; and some are handled in red chalk: but it is remarkable that the extremities of his figures are scarcely ever made out; and there is a certain character prevailing through the whole, by which they are recognized from those of any other master.’


Palma seems to have drawn as much for pleasure as to prepare his paintings, and many of his drawings cannot be related to known works. Recent scholars have written of the artist that ‘Drawing was for him the most important outlet of his artistic personality...what strikes us most is the luxuriant, almost purposeless character of the drawings. Though occasionally referring to compositions also existing in paintings, they are entirely without roots – output of a permanent and unconcentrated creative urge, fulfilling more an uncontrollable drive rather than a need of the artist – mere finger-exercises to loosen the hand.’ The pose of Christ in the present sheet is close, albeit without the cross, to that of the central figure in Palma’s massive painting of Christ in Glory with the Virgin and Saint Mark in the Venetian church of San Francesco della Vigna.


Filippo Napoletano Ships on a Stormy Sea

PROVENANCE: Mathias Komor, New York; Anonymous sale, London, Sotheby’s, 2 July 1990, lot 155 (as attributed to Agostino Tassi); Galerie Paul Prouté, Paris, in 1993; Anonymous sale, Paris, Hôtel Drouot, 20 October 2000, lot 160; P. & D. Colnaghi, London, in 2003; Private collection, Middlesex; Thence by descent.

LITERATURE: Marco Chiarini, ed., I disegni italiani della Biblioteca dell’Accademia di Romania a Bucarest: Catalogo generale, Florence, 2004, p.74, under no.XXXVII; Marco Chiarini, Teodoro Filippo di Liano detto Filippo Napoletano 1589-1629: Vite e opere, Florence, 2007, pp.460-461, no.388; Heiko Damm and Henning Hoesch, ed., galleria portatile: Italienische Handzeichnungen aus der Sammling Hoesch, Vol.II, Petersberg, 2022, p.170, under no.30, fig.3.

Filippo Napoletano was a pupil of his father, an artist working in Rome, although he seems to have completed his education in Naples. Around 1614 he returned to Rome, where he encountered the landscape paintings of Agostino Tassi, whose work is sometimes confused with his. By 1618 he was in Florence, employed at the court of the Grand Duke Cosimo II de’ Medici. He remained in Florence until 1621 before returning to Rome, where he worked on the decoration of a number of villas and palaces, notably in the Palazzo Bentivoglio and the Palazzo Barberini. For the remainder of his career Napoletano worked in both Rome and Naples, producing cabinet pictures of battle scenes, landscapes and marine subjects for private collectors. He also painted a large number of religious and mythological subjects on different types of variegated and coloured stone, known as pietra paesina. As a draughtsman, Napoletano was much admired by such contemporary collectors as Cardinal Leopoldo de’ Medici.

The attribution of this drawing to Filippo Napoletano was confirmed by the late Marco Chiarini. Both thematically and stylistically, the present sheet may be compared with a number of drawings by Napoletano, such as a large and impressive Naval Battle in the Louvre. Another drawing of ships on a stormy sea, more freely executed in pen and brown wash, is in the Art Institute of Chicago, while a study of a Shipwreck in the Albertina in Vienna is also similar. Perhaps the closest compositional comparison, however, may be made – as Chiarini noted – with a drawing of Boats in a Storm in the Biblioteca Academiei Romî in Bucharest.


Marcantonio Bassetti

Two Saints in Clouds

PROVENANCE: Anonymous sale, London, Sotheby’s, 3 July 1989, lot 197; Margot Gordon, New York in 1992; Private collection, Massachusetts.

EXHIBITED: New York, Margot Gordon and Rome, Marcello Aldega, Old Master Drawings, 1992, no.28; Stanford University, Cantor Center for Visual Arts, Classic Taste: Drawings and Decorative Arts from the Collection of Horace Brock, 2000.

Marcantonio Bassetti received his initial training in the studio of Felice Brusasorci in Verona. He was in Venice by


about 1605, and there met the Venetian painter Palma Giovane, with whom he may have worked as an assistant, and who certainly had a profound influence on his draughtsmanship. Around 1616 Bassetti travelled to Rome, where he became strongly influenced by the Caravaggism of Carlo Saraceni and Orazio Borgianni. He became a member of the Roman Accademia di San Luca, and between 1616 and 1617 participated in the decoration of the Sala Regia in the Palazzo Quirinale. While in Rome, Bassetti painted a Martyrdom of Saints Vito, Fermo and Rustico for the Augustinian church in Munich, followed a few years later by an altarpiece of Five Bishop Martyrs for the Veronese church of Santo Stefano. By 1620 he had returned to his native Verona, where he earned commissions for several altarpieces in local churches. Bassetti died during the plague of 1630, at the age of around forty-four.

A large group of oil sketches on paper by Bassetti, similar in technique to the present sheet, is in the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle. In his catalogue of that collection Anthony Blunt provided a succinct description of Bassetti’s distinctive draughtsmanship: ‘His drawings are executed in the late sixteenth-century Venetian method of almost grisaille oils on paper, but they are characterized by a type of closed composition, with the figures crowded into the front of the space, and by a method of modelling the form in little lumps or nobs, emphasized by the strong highlights added in pure white pigment. The ‘ropy’ treatment of the draperies combines with this to create a curiously broken high-relief pattern of lights and shades’. The artist himself seems to have regarded his drawings as akin to his paintings, to judge by his comment, in a letter of 1616 to Palma Giovane, that ‘when one draws, one also paints.’

Bassetti’s oil sketches on paper seem, for the most part, not to have been done as studies for paintings but were rather intended as independent works of art. That they were highly prized by collectors, and particularly foreign visitors to Verona, is seen in a comment made by his biographer, Carlo Ridolfi. In his Le maraviglie dell’arte, published in 1648, Ridolfi praised Bassetti’s drawings, ‘which he used to heighten with white and black oil paint on the paper’ and noted that ‘one still sees many drawings executed in this manner and which he mostly made during the winter, displaying them around his studio, and which he still used to sell to those who took delight in studying, and in particular to the foreigners who passed through Verona.’

The praying figure on the left of the present sheet appears to be related to a figure in Bassetti’s monumental altarpiece of The Virgin and Child with Saints Blessing the City of Capodistria, dating from the second half of the 1620s. The painting was commissioned around 1627-1628 by the Veronese churchman Marco Belli for the Franciscan church of Santa Marta in Capodistria (today Koper in Slovenia) and is now on loan to the Narodna Galerija in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The left-hand figure in this drawing would seem to be a study for the second figure from the right of a group of saints in clouds at the top of the painting; in the altarpiece this figure is, however, partly obscured both by the male saint seated next to her and the hand of the Virgin. Another drawing by Bassetti for the same altarpiece is in the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. The figure on the right of the present sheet is probably Saint Agnes, shown with her attribute of a lamb.


Astolfo Petrazzi

The Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes

PROVENANCE: Anonymous sale, Amsterdam, Mak van Waay, 15 December 1969, lot 339 (as Federico Zuccaro); Dr. C. Richartz, Rotterdam; P. & D. Colnaghi, London, in 1992; Private collection, Middlesex; Thence by descent.

LITERATURE: Philip Pouncey, ‘Trois nouveaux dessins de Rutilio Manetti et une hypothèse sur Astolfo Petrazzi’, Revue de l’Art, 1971, p.71, note 20, fig.18; Mario di Giampaolo, ed., Philip Pouncey: Raccolta di scritti (19371985), Rimini, 1994, p.133, note 20, illustrated p.138, fig.18.

EXHIBITED: New York and London, Colnaghi, An Exhibition of Master Drawings, 1992, no.28.

Astolfo Petrazzi was a student of Ventura Salimbeni, and his early work displays the influence of this local Barrocesque master, such as the Martyrdom of Saint Crispin of 1608 in the church of San Crispino in Siena.


According to Filippo Baldinucci, Petrazzi also studied with two other Sienese painters, Francesco Vanni and Pietro Sorri. In 1618 he entered a competition to decorate the church of Santa Lucia in Siena, but lost out to Sebastiano Folli. After a period of about ten years in Rome, where he painted an altarpiece for the church of San Giovanni dei Fiorentini, Petrazzi returned to Siena in 1631, inspired by the Bolognese classicism of the Carracci and their followers that he had seen in Rome. Among his important paintings of this period are his first known dated work, a Last Communion of Saint Jerome of 1631 in the Sienese church of Sant’Agostino, and The Mysteries of the Rosary, painted the following year for the church of Santo Spirito. He also painted a number of historical subjects as mural paintings for the interior of the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena. Petrazzi operated a busy workshop in Siena, and later projects included frescoes for the Oratory of Saints Gherardo and Ludovico, completed in 1635, and the decoration of the vault of the Oratory of San Rocco, which is signed and dated 1648. He was also a gifted painter of still life subjects and genre scenes, executed in a combination of a Caravaggesque and Northern manner.

Petrazzi is known to have established a drawing academy in his studio. The essential characteristics of his draughtsmanship were established in a pioneering article published by the scholar Philip Pouncey in 1971, when he grouped a number of previously anonymous drawings – including the present sheet – under the name of the artist on the basis of a Martyrdom of a Saint in the Albertina in Vienna, which is signed ‘Astolfo Petrucci Sanese’. Relatively few of the artist’s extant drawings, however, can be related to finished paintings or frescoes.

Pouncey noted that the present sheet, which is a design for an overdoor painting or fresco, may be contemporary with two similar drawings by Petrazzi, one depicting A Franciscan Monk Preaching and the other Figures Praying before a Tomb, both now in the Louvre. Also stylistically comparable is a drawing of Christ in Limbo formerly in a private collection in Portugal and a study of a Standing Figure Placing a Scapular(?) on a Kneeling Figure in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.


Stefano Della Bella

Oriental Horsemen in Procession, Escorted by Dwarves with Pikes

PROVENANCE: P. & D. Colnaghi, London, in 1969; John Goelet, Baltimore, Maryland and Sandricourt, Oise, France; Private collection, New York.

LITERATURE: Françoise Viatte, ‘Allegorical and Burlesque Subjects by Stefano Della Bella’, Master Drawings, Winter 1977, p.364, under note 49 (as location unknown).

EXHIBITED: London, Colnaghi, Exhibition of Old Master and English Drawings, 1969, no.17.

A gifted draughtsman, printmaker and designer, Stefano della Bella was born into a family of artists. His first prints date to around 1627, and he eventually succeeded Jacques Callot as Medici court designer and printmaker; his commissions included etchings of public festivals, tournaments and the banquets hosted by the Medici in Florence. Under the patronage of the Medici, Della Bella was sent in 1633 to Rome, where he made drawings after antique and Renaissance masters, landscapes and scenes of everyday life. In 1639 he accompanied the Medici ambassador to the Parisian court of Louis XIII and was to remain in France for ten years. Della Bella established a flourishing career in Paris, publishing numerous prints and obtaining significant commissions from Cardinals Richelieu and Mazarin, as well as other members of the court and the aristocracy. Indeed, the majority of his prints date from this fertile Parisian period and several include scenes of life at the French court. After his return to Florence in 1650, Della Bella continued to enjoy Medici patronage. Over the next few years he produced drawings of the gardens of the Medici villa at Pratolino, the port of Livorno and the Villa Medici in Rome. He was also active as a designer of costumes for the various pageants, masquerades and ballets of the Medici court, as well as for the performances of the Accademia degli Immobili, a group of prominent Florentine citizens and noblemen who staged musical plays each year. After suffering a stroke in 1661, Della Bella appears to have worked very little before his death three years later.


Della Bella produced works of considerable energy and inventiveness, with an oeuvre numbering over a thousand etchings, and many times more drawings and studies. This drawing is closely related to a series of twenty-three drawings by Della Bella that were at one time bound into an album bearing the title Le Maraviglie del Mondo nuovo, fatti per il Divertimento del Principe Fernando di Toscana di lui scolare. (Although the title of the album states that the drawings it contained were intended for the amusement of Della Bella’s pupil, the Grand Duke Ferdinando II de’Medici, it may be noted that the artist was not in fact a drawing master to Ferdinando, but rather to his young son, the future Duke Cosimo III.) The album was sold at auction in London in 1930 and the drawings it contained, all in pen and brown ink and grey wash, were then dispersed. The drawings from the Maraviglie del Mondo nuovo album, each similar in size and technique to the present sheet, comprised genre scenes of groups of dwarves occupied in everyday activities. Drawings from the album are today in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, as well as in several private collections. In theme and subject, the present sheet comes closest to a drawing of a parade of dwarf soldiers in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, while similar turbanned figures appear in another drawing from the series; an Oriental Audience that was in a private collection in New York in 1977.

As Françoise Viatte has noted of these drawings, which she dates to late in the artist’s career, ‘It may be that the dwarf themes appealed to [Della Bella] not only because of his interest in the unusual so apparent in his graphic work, but also because of their suitability to the small formats that he preferred…The artist’s intentions are satirical and not comic. Della Bella’s burlesque is cold and grating caricature, with no place for laughter...It is quite clear then that although Stefano’s Bambocciate may have been executed as a private pastime, they reflect the contemporary taste for the unusual, for that “invenzione bizarissima” which [Filippo] Baldinucci places in the Florentine tradition.’


Salvator Rosa Mercury Bearing a Cornucopia: Design for a Frontispiece for Francisco Serra, Synonymorum apparatus, 1654

PROVENANCE: Jonathan Richardson, Senior, London (Lugt 2183 and on his mount); By descent to his son, Jonathan Richardson Junior, London; Probably the posthumous Richardson Senior sale, London, Covent Garden, Christopher Cock, 22 January to 8 February 1747; Jan van Rymsdyk, Bristol and London (Lugt 2167), with his inscription Rymsdyk’s Museum at the lower right; Presumably his posthumous sale, London, Greenwood’s, 29 March 1790; Pandora Old Masters, New York, in 2000; Private collection, Massachusetts.

LITERATURE: Caterina Volpi, Salvator Rosa (1615-1673) “pittore famoso”, Rome, 2014, pp.138-139, fig.115.

EXHIBITED: New York, Pandora Old Masters, An Exhibition of Old Master Drawings & Oil Sketches, 2000, no.11; Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, Splendor and Elegance: European Decorative Arts and Drawings from the Horace Wood Brock Collection, 2009, no.116.

A painter, draughtsman and printmaker, as well as an accomplished actor, musician and poet, Salvator Rosa studied in Naples before making two trips to Rome in the second half of the 1630s. The following decade found him working in Florence, where he developed an interest in historical and mythological subjects, as well as in themes of witchcraft and the occult. An eccentric personality, he moved in literary and intellectual circles, which in turn inspired his idiosyncratic artistic vision. Returning to Rome in 1649, Rosa continued to paint unusual, often fantastical or macabre subjects alongside the paintings of battle scenes and wild landscapes with which he had first made a name for himself. A gifted and prolific printmaker, Rosa produced over one hundred etchings, almost all of which were published and widely distributed in his lifetime.

This large drawing, depicting Mercury as the Roman god of eloquence, is Rosa’s design for the frontispiece to Francisco Serra’s Synonymorum apparatus, a dictionary of Latin synonyms published in Venice in 1654 and reprinted in 1672. Engraved by the French printmaker François de Poilly (1622-1673), the frontispiece is captioned ‘Salva Rosa inv.’ and ‘F. Poilly sculp.’ The Synonymorum apparatus bore a dedication to Cardinal Carlo Barberini, and the engraved frontispiece includes three bees – the Barberini family emblem – below the feet of Mercury, although these are not found in this preparatory drawing.


Rosa may have been inspired by a somewhat similar figure of Mercury that appears in the frontispiece to the 17th century German Jesuit scholar Athanasius Kircher’s Obeliscus Pamphilus, published in Rome in 1650. (Indeed, the artist is known to have met Kircher in Rome.) The imagery of both the present sheet and the related print anticipates that of Rosa’s painting of an Allegory of Fortune of 1659, in the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, in which the female figure also bears a cornucopia. In stylistic terms, the present sheet may be compared with a number of Rosa’s preparatory studies for his celebrated Figurine series of etchings of soldiers, peasants and other figures, datable to c.1656-1657.

The English portrait painter, author and connoisseur Jonathan Richardson Senior (1667-1745), whose collector’s mark is found at the lower right corner of the sheet, owned a remarkable collection of nearly five thousand drawings. Richardson’s extensive collection, comprised mainly of Italian works of the 16th and 17th centuries, was assembled over a period of about fifty years, and was organized by school and date. The drawings were further classified with a complex system of shelfmarks, such as those found on the reverse of the mount of this drawing.

The present sheet also bears the inscription applied to drawings belonging to the 18th century Dutch-born painter and engraver Jan van Rymsdyk (1719-1790), who lived and worked in England, mainly as a medical illustrator, from around 1750 until his death. Van Rymsdyk (sometimes Riemsdyk or Rijmsdijk) organized his small but choice collection of drawings – mainly by Italian and Netherlandish artists – on similar lines to that of Richardson, and indeed acquired several drawings formerly owned by him. Rymsdyk purchased his drawings, which included several sheets by Rembrandt, on a modest budget, although, as Frits Lugt has noted, ‘He seems to have had an important collection of drawings; the inscription ‘Rymsdyk’s Museum’…is often found on beautiful sheets.’ The largest surviving group of drawings from Rymsdyk’s collection, amounting to eleven sheets, is today in the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York, while seven more are in the British Museum in London and five are in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.


Salvator Rosa

A Group of Seven Figures, including a Child Beggar

PROVENANCE: Jean-Baptiste-Florentin-Gabriel de Meyran, Marquis de Lagoy, Paris and St.-Rémy-de-Provence (Lugt 1710); Acquired from him in 1810 by Count Moritz von Fries, Vienna (Lugt 2903); Presumably W. Mellish, London; Dr. Carl Robert Rudolf, London (Lugt 2811b); Private collection, New York.

Salvator Rosa’s spirited, exuberant drawings were highly praised by connoisseurs even in his own day. The bulk of the nine hundred or so surviving drawings by the artist are figure studies, usually in his preferred medium of pen and ink, often enlivened with touches of wash. Many of the drawings from the early part of his career are signed, and these may have been sold to collectors or presented as gifts to friends or patrons. However, almost no signed drawings dating from after 1649 exist, and it has been suggested that, after his return to Rome from Florence that year, Rosa chose to keep most of his drawings for himself, and not part with them.

As the Rosa scholar Michael Mahoney has noted, ‘From the beginning, the subjects of Rosa’s drawings were principally genre figures captured in everyday, non-heroic activities and attitudes.’ The present sheet depicts a group of figures, some of them Oriental types, of the sort that would have been used as staffage to enliven the foreground of Rosa’s large-scale landscape paintings. Among stylistically comparable drawings is a study of four men in a landscape, formerly in the Mariette collection and today in the Louvre.

The earliest known owner of this drawing was the Provençal nobleman Jean-Baptiste-Florentin-Gabriel de Meyran, Marquis de Lagoy (1764-1829), who assembled a fine collection of drawings that numbered some three thousand sheets by nearly nine hundred artists. Roughly a third of the collection was made up of Italian drawings, including several works by Raphael and Michelangelo. The present sheet also bears the collector’s mark of the Viennese banker Count Moritz von Fries (1777-1826), who is known to have purchased drawings from the Marquis de Lagoy in 1810. Von Fries assembled a substantial collection of around 100,000 prints and drawings, but financial difficulties forced him to sell much of this collection from 1820 onwards.



A Male Nude with a Staff

PROVENANCE: P. & D. Colnaghi, London; David Jones, Paris; Private collection, Massachusetts.

Born into a noble Croatian family, the painter Federico Bencovich was from around 1695 trained in the studio of the Bolognese painter Carlo Cignani, assisting him on the extensive fresco decoration of the dome of the Cappella della Madonna del Fuoco in the Duomo at Forlì. Cignani’s influence is noticeable in Bencovich’s first known independent work; a Juno painted in 1707 for the Palazzo Foschi in Forlí. In 1710 Bencovich went to Venice, where he remained for six years and is credited by some contemporary writers with the introduction of Bolognese visual culture into the local artistic tradition. He did not seem to have obtained much success in Venice, however, despite painting several easel pictures for private clients and at least two works for local churches. It was in Venice that Bencovich met the influential patron Lothar Franz von Schönborn, Prince-Bishop of Mainz, who commissioned four paintings – Hagar in the Desert, The Sacrifice of Iphigenia, Apollo and Marsyas and a Sacrifice of Isaac, all painted between 1715 and 1720 – for Schloss Weissenstein at Pommersfelden. Bencovich moved to Vienna in 1717, and by 1724 was in Milan, from where he supplied altarpieces for churches in Crema, Venice and elsewhere. In 1734 he became court painter to Friedrich Karl von Schönborn, Prince-Bishop of Würzburg and Bamberg, for whom he painted Biblical scenes for the Residenz and the Hofkirche in Würzburg, which are now lost. Following Schönborn’s death, Bencovich retired to Gorizia in northeastern Italy, where he worked at the Palazzo Attems Petzenstein.

Only a handful of drawings by Bencovich are known. This small corpus includes several academic chalk studies of male nudes, some of which have previously been attributed to the Venetian artist Giovanni Battista Piazzetta. Drawings by or attributed to Bencovich are today in the collections of the Accademia Carrara in Bergamo, the Kupferstichkabinett in Berlin, the Biblioteca Marucelliana and the Uffizi in Florence, the British Museum in London, the Biblioteca Ambrosiana and the Castello Sforzesco in Milan, the Museo Correr in Venice and the Akademie der Bildenden Künste and Albertina in Vienna. The present sheet may be likened in stylistic terms to a chalk study of a faun in the Biblioteca Ambrosiana and a seated male nude in the Castello Sforzesco, as well as a drawing of a standing male nude in Berlin.


Francesco Monti

Diana and Endymion

PROVENANCE: ‘R.G.’ collection (according to the inscription on the reverse of the mount); Private collection, London.

Following a period of study with Sigismondo Caula in Modena, Francesco Monti returned to his native Bologna in 1693, where he completed his training in the studio of Giovan Gioseffo dal Sole. The Venetian qualities inherited from Caula remained evident in his work throughout his long and successful career. Among his important early works is the large Pentecost for the church of San Prospero in Reggio Emilia, dated 1713. In 1715 Monti was admitted to the Accademia Clementina, and his reputation flourished in the 1720s, when he received a number of significant commissions for history paintings and was elected to a term as principe of the Accademia Clementina. Together with such artists as Donato Creti, Sebastiano and Marco Ricci, Canaletto and others, Monti contributed to a series of large allegorical paintings of imaginary tombs commemorating prominent figures, commissioned by Owen McSwiney in the late 1720s and 1730s.

As the scholar Dwight Miller has noted, ‘Monti evolved a distinctive personal idiom, characterized by graceful figures reminiscent of the style of Parmigianino but perhaps more directly inspired by the more extravagant late Mannerist idiom of such painters as Bartholomeus Spranger and Josef Heintz I of the court of Rudolf II at Prague...Monti’s art contributed to a neo-Mannerist strain in 18th century Emilian painting; he was perhaps its most sophisticated


exponent.’ Monti executed a number of paintings for churches in Bologna and the surrounding region, notably a Death of Saint Peter Martyr for San Domenico in Modena in 1732. Four years later he moved to Brescia to work on the decorations of the Palazzo Martinengo. The success of this project led to further commissions, and Monti eventually established a flourishing practice in Brescia. The later years of his career were spent working mainly in Lombardy on large-scale fresco projects, and among his most significant late works is the extensive decoration of the church of Santa Maria della Pace in Brescia.

Monti is perhaps better known today as a draughtsman than as a painter, and produced figure studies and compositional drawings in black chalk and in red chalk. As Mimi Cazort and Catherine Johnston have noted, ‘Monti’s drawing style is highly individualistic: it is based on the firm Bolognese academic tradition, but the treatment of the chalk medium, which he preferred, is handled with a particular deftness...His lightness of touch, combined with the “Neo-Mannerist” predilection for attenuated figures, produce a combination of elegance and spontaneity rare in the Bolognese tradition.’

Formerly attributed to Monti’s teacher Giovanni Gioseffo dal Sole, this evocative night scene depicts the Roman goddess of the moon, Diana, who fell in love with the beautiful young shepherd Endymion, and would visit him every night while he slept on the mountaintop where he guarded his sheep. In the present composition the goddess is accompanied by Cupid, who aims his arrow at Endymion’s heart.

The inscription on the reverse of the 18th century mount of this drawing states that the work was formerly in the ‘R.G.’ collection. While nothing is known of this collection, a similar inscription is found on a related drawing of An Allegory of Autumn by Monti, of similar technique and dimensions, in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. The Fitzwilliam drawing was also once in the ‘R.G.’ collection and was likewise previously attributed to Dal Sole. The same ‘R.’ or ‘R.G.’ collection included at least two further drawings by Monti, each depicting the Roman goddess Ceres with attendant putti; both drawings appeared, with attributions to Dal Sole, at auctions in London in 1981.

All of these drawings, including the present sheet, may further be grouped with a series of large-scale compositional drawings of allegorical or mythological subjects by Monti, all of which are similar in medium and style, in the Accademia Carrara in Bergamo and the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle. The latter houses nine drawings by Monti of this type, including another depiction of the subject of Diana and Endymion, different in composition to the present sheet. All of these drawings may be dated to relatively early in Monti’s career, when he was closely associated with the Accademia Clementina in Bologna, and before his departure for Brescia in 1736. In his 1968 monograph on Monti, the scholar Ugo Ruggeri tentatively suggested that these drawings may have been modelli for the decoration of a palace, but it is equally likely that such large and highly finished drawings as the present sheet may have been produced as works of art in their own right and intended for sale to collectors.

Later in his career, Monti is known to have painted a ceiling fresco of the subject of Diana and Endymion for the Casa Barussi in Brescia, which is now lost. Ruggeri has related a total of three drawings by Monti to this project, all of which show the figures of the goddess and the shepherd in a different arrangement than in the present sheet. Two of these drawings are in private collections in Italy, while the third is the Diana and Endymion at Windsor, which is the only one of the nine related drawings by Monti in that collection that is of oval format and is squared for transfer.


The Head of a Warrior in a Helmet

PROVENANCE: Private collection, London.

At the age of fifteen, following an apprenticeship with Lorenzo Pasinelli, Donato Creti came to the attention of Count Alessandro Fava. The Bolognese count became the artist’s protector and first patron, and the young Creti lived and worked in the Palazzo Fava for a number of years before becoming an independent master. Around 1700 he received a commission from the Counts of Novellara to decorate their family palace, and in 1708 he


completed a large fresco of Alexander Cutting the Gordian Knot for the Palazzo Pepoli Campogrande in Bologna. Apart from fresco decorations, the early part of Creti’s career was taken up with secular commissions for easel pictures. Together with other Bolognese and Venetian artists, Creti contributed to several of the well-known series of allegorical Tombs commissioned by Owen McSwiny in the 1720s and 1730s. Throughout the 1730s and 1740s, Creti also produced several important altarpieces for churches in Emilia-Romagna and as far away as Palermo.

In his biography of the artist, Giampietro Zanotti writes that Creti’s drawings were highly regarded by his contemporaries. Creti learned to draw from the nude in the studio of Pasinelli, and in general preferred to use pen and ink wash for his studies, drawn with a rapid, calligraphic stroke, although he also produced head studies in chalk. Landscapes, figure studies and portraits make up the bulk of Creti’s drawings, many of which, according to Zanotti, were given away as presents by the artist.

This fine drawing is a preparatory study for one of the major commissions of Creti’s late career; a lost canvas of Alexander the Great and his Physician Philip that was one of a pair of paintings commissioned from the artist in 1736 by the French general André Maurice, Duc de Noailles, the other being Alexander the Great Cutting the Gordian Knot. The two paintings, for which Creti was paid the sum of 1,800 lire, were completed by July 1738 and were dispatched from Bologna to Florence in October 1738 to be sent onward to Paris. However, although the artist is known to have been paid for the two works, they never seem to have been delivered to the Duc de Noailles, and their subsequent history is a mystery. While the latter work has survived and is today in an English private collection, the painting of Alexander the Great and his Physician Philip is lost, although its composition is known through a full-size, finished oil sketch by Creti recently sold at auction and today in a private collection in Italy. Both Alexander paintings were preceded by a pair of small-scale bozzetti that were sent to the Duc de Noailles for his approval; these bozzetti – which each show evidence of workshop participation – are today in the collection of Goodwood House in West Sussex.

The present sheet is a study for the head of the soldier at the left of the composition of Alexander the Great and his Physician Philip; a figure identified as Alexander’s bodyguard Lysimachus. It seems that Creti was particularly concerned with the head of this figure, since the full-scale oil sketch in a private collection shows an obvious pentiment in the profile head of the soldier, in which the artist tried two different angles for the head, both of which differ from that seen in this drawing.

This drawing appears to be dated March 1737 (‘iij 37’), in what seems to be Creti’s hand, on the verso. Such a dating would fit in with the assumed chronology of the painting, which was completed by the summer of 1738. Two other preparatory drawings by Creti for the painting of Alexander the Great and his Physician Philip are in the Statens Museum for Kunst in Copenhagen and the Fondazione Giorgio Cini in Venice.


Giambattista Piazzetta

The Apostle Saint Simon Zelotes

PROVENANCE: Dr. Edward Peart, London and Butterwick, Lincolnshire (Lugt 891); His anonymous sale (‘a Liberal and Enlighted Collector’), London, Christie’s, 12-24 April 1822, lot 17 (bt. Greville for 11 gns.); Sir Charles Greville, London; By descent to his nephew, George Guy Greville, 4th Earl of Warwick, Warwick Castle, Warwick (Lugt 2600); Thence by descent at Warwick Castle; Warwick sale, London, Christie’s, 20-21 May 1896, lot 268 (‘PIAZZETTA (G.B.). St. Joseph – black and white chalks, on green paper’, sold for £1 to Richter); Dr. JeanPaul Richter, London; His sale, Amsterdam, Frederik Muller & Cie, 27-28 May 1913, lot 358 (‘Buste de saint Barthélemy, tourné à droite, tenant la scie sur l’épaule. Pierre noire sur papier gris, rehaussé de blanc. – Haut. 38.7. larg. 31 cent. Ce dessin a été rendu en gravure. Collections Dr. Edward Peart 1822, Clerke et Earl of Warwick 1896.’); S. Haag; Pieter de Boer, Amsterdam, by 1962; The Stichting Collectie P. en N. de Boer, Amsterdam; De Boer sale, London, Christie’s, 4 July 1995, lot 68; Hazlitt, Gooden & Fox, London; Addison Fine Arts, San Francisco, in 2001; Private collection, San Francisco.


LITERATURE: Paris, Institut Néerlandais, and elsewhere, Le dessin italien dans les collections hollandaises, exhibition catalogue, 1962, Vol.I, p.105, no.175, Vol.II, pl.CXXII; Rodolfo Pallucchini and Adriano Mariuz, L’opera completa del Piazzetta, Milan, 1982, p.112 and p.128, under no A135; Alessandro Bettagno et al, G. B. Piazzetta: Disegni – Incisioni – Libri – Manoscritti, exhibition catalogue, Venice, 1983, p.38, under no.64 (entry by George Knox).

EXHIBITED: Paris, Institut Néerlandais, Rotterdam, Museum Boiymans – van Beuningen and Haarlem, Teyler Museum, Le dessin italien dans les collections hollandaises, 1962, no.175; Laren N.H., Singer Museum, Oude Tekeningen: Een Keuze uit de Verzameling P. en N. de Boer, 1966, no.178.

Giambattista Piazzetta’s most celebrated works as a draughtsman were a series of teste di carattere or ‘character heads’; independent, large-scale and highly finished studies of heads drawn in black and white chalks on sizeable sheets of blue or buff Venetian paper. These were produced as works of art in their own right, intended to be framed and glazed for display, and were avidly sought by contemporary collectors. As has been noted of these teste di carattere drawings, ‘Expressive heads or portrait studies in black chalk or charcoal lit up with white were part of Venetian drawing practice, but Piazzetta made this genre his own, with numerous variations featuring young and old, male and female characters...As independent drawings they are poetic images evoking potential narratives, while also presenting Piazzetta’s inventiveness and virtuosity for admiration.’ Although almost none of these character studies of heads are dated, the artist drew them throughout his career.

As early as 1733, the Venetian critic and connoisseur Anton Maria Zanetti the Younger had noted of Piazzetta’s teste di carattere that they were the most beautiful drawings of this type he had ever seen (‘più belle delle quali in questo genere altre son se ne sono mai vedute’). The artist seems to have produced these large, bust-length drawings of character heads as a means of earning a steady income to support himself and his family. Indeed, the 18th century French collector and amateur Antoine-Joseph Dézallier d’Argenville, writing in 1762, noted that Piazzetta claimed to have earned the sum total of 7,000 zecchini from his drawings of heads. The fact that the artist’s reputation outside Venice was well established by the early 1720s can be credited to his teste di carattere drawings, many of which were engraved by the Venetian printmaker Marco Pitteri, whose prints served to spread their fame. As Ugo Ruggeri has written of these drawings, ‘Because they are so fully worked out, they are almost substitutes for paintings and give the impression that the artist was trying to reach, in a complex drawing, the absolute perfection of finish that is characteristic of his paintings.’

One of the most obscure of the Apostles, Saint Simon Zelotes, or Simon the Zealot, is shown here with his attribute of a saw. After the death of Christ, Simon Zelotes travelled to Syria and Mesopotamia, and was martyred by being sawn in half. The present sheet was reproduced in an engraving, in the same direction, by the printmaker Marco Pitteri (1702-1786), which was published in Venice in 1742. The print was one of a series of fifteen halflength bust-length images – based on drawings or paintings produced by Piazzetta between c.1736 and 1742 – of God the Father, Christ, the Virgin and the twelve Apostles. Pitteri’s engravings proved very popular and were later reissued by Pitteri himself, while also being reproduced by other printmakers in the form of mezzotints. A handful of other drawings by Piazzetta related to Pitteri’s print series are known.

A closely related drawing of Saint Simon Zelotes by Piazzetta, but showing him without the saw and with both hands clasped in prayer, is in a private collection in Rome. Piazzetta may have used this drawing for a painting of Christ Crowned with Thorns, in a private collection in Bergamo, in which the head of Christ is very close to the present sheet. A three-quarter length painting of Saint Simon Zelotes tentatively attributed to Piazzetta, in a Venetian private collection, is also based on either the present sheet or the Pitteri engraving, but shows much more of the figure.

This drawing bears the collector’s mark of the physician and scientific writer Edward Peart (1756-1824), who acquired both prints and drawings, and whose collection was dispersed at auction in London over several days in April 1822. The drawing was acquired at the 1822 sale by the English soldier and politician Sir Charles Greville (1762-1832), whose collection of drawings passed by descent to his nephew, George Guy Greville, 4th Earl of Warwick (1818-1893) and was kept at Warwick Castle. The present sheet was one of many drawings acquired at the 4th Earl’s posthumous sale in 1896 by the German-born art historian and art dealer Jean-Paul Richter (1847-


1937), who had begun collecting drawings around 1880 and had studied the collection at Warwick Castle. The best drawings in Richter’s collection, including the present sheet, were sold at auction in Amsterdam in 1913.


Pietro Antonio Novelli

Jacob Wrestling with the Angel

PROVENANCE: Eugen and Hermione Fenyvesi, Vienna and London; Thence by descent; Anonymous sale, London, Christie’s, 5 December 2013, lot 34; Private collection, New York.

The outlines of Pietro Antonio Novelli’s long career are known through his posthumously published memoirs, which appeared thirty years after his death. Trained in the studio of Giambattista Pittoni, he also came under the influence of Gaspare Diziani and Francesco Guardi, while his earliest paintings show the influence of Jacopo Amigoni. Among other early documented works are a set of illustrations for an edition of Torquato Tasso’s Gerusalemme Liberata, published in 1760, and several plates for Carlo Goldoni’s Commedie, published in 1761 and 1788. In 1768 Novelli was accepted as a member of the Accademia in Venice, for whom he submitted an Allegory of the Arts as a reception piece. Novelli painted frescoes in several Venetian palaces, including those of the Corniani-Tivan, Mangilli, Mocenigo and Sangiatoffetti families, and also painted altarpieces and decorative frescoes throughout Northern Italy. Among the artist’s patrons was Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia, for whom in 1772 he painted a mythological composition. By 1779 Novelli had settled in Rome, where he spent most of the next twenty years, and where he came under the influence of Neoclassicism and such artists as Pompeo Batoni and Anton Raphael Mengs. During his years in Rome he completed a ceiling painting of Cupid and Psyche for the Villa Borghese and received commissions for the decoration of several Roman palaces. The last years of his career were spent in Venice.

Novelli is best known today for his drawings. He was an inventive and versatile draughtsman, and, as one contemporary source noted, ‘The drawings and painted works by Novelli showed not just a profound knowledge, but also a supreme degree of fantasy, and I myself saw him change in ten and more ways the same subject.’ His many and varied drawings – executed in both pen and ink and watercolour and, more rarely, in red chalk – include studies for paintings and altarpieces, as well as a significant number of designs for book illustrations, prints and frontispieces.


Giovanni Antonio Canal, called Canaletto

A Capriccio of a Colonnade Opening onto a Courtyard of a Palace

PROVENANCE: Cav. Antonio Grandi, Milan and Bellagio, until 1919; Art market, Milan, in 1919, where acquired by Luigi Albertini, Rome; Private collection.

LITERATURE: Ettore Modigliani, ‘Capolavori veneziani del ‘700 ritornati in Italia’, Dedalo, 1924-1925, p.343; Ettore Modigliani, La collezione di Luigi Albertini, Rome, 1942, pl.XXV; Terisio Pignatti, Il Museo Correr di Venezia: Dipinti del XVII e XVIII Secolo, Venice, 1960, p.35; W. G. Constable, Canaletto. Giovanni Antonio Canal 1697-1768, Oxford, 1962, Vol.1, pl.155, Vol.II, no.822 and under no.509; Lionello Puppi, L’opera completa del Canaletto, Milan, 1968, p.121, under no.355A; Terisio Pignatti, Antonio Canal detto Il Canaletto, Florence, 1976, p.208, note to pl.138; Alessandro Bettagno, ed., Canaletto: Disegni – dipinti – incisioni, exhibition catalogue, Venice, 1982, p.88, under no.116; W. G. Constable and J. G. Links, Canaletto. Giovanni Antonio Canal 1697-1768, 2nd ed., Oxford, 1976, Vol.I, p.151, pl.155, no.822, Vol.II, p.466, under no.509, pp.607-608, no.822; André Corboz, Canaletto: Una Venezia immaginaria, Milan, 1985, Vol.II, pp.768-769, no.D233; Dario Succi, Capricci Veneziani del Settecento, exhibition catalogue, Gorizia, 1988, pp.428-429; Katherine Baetjer and J. G. Links, Canaletto, exhibition catalogue, New York, 1989-1990, p.276, under no.85; Jane Martineau and Andrew Robison, ed., The Glory of Venice: Art in the Eighteenth Century, exhibition catalogue, London and Washington, D.C., 1994-


1995, p.439, under no.148; Tomàs Llorens Serra et al, El Viatge a Itàlia: Vedute Italianes del Segle XVIII de la Collecció Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, exhibition catalogue, Barcelona, 1997-1998, p.66; Roberto Contini, The Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection: Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Italian Painting, London, 2002, p.283, fig.2; Bożena Anna Kowalczyk, ed., Canaletto Guardi: Les deux maîtres de Venise, exhibition catalogue, Paris, 20122013, p.180, under no.48; Giovanna Nepi Scirè, The Accademia Galleries in Venice, Milan, 2015, p.157, under no.10; Bożena Anna Kowalczyk, Canaletto 1697-1768, exhibition catalogue, Rome, 2018, p.204, under no.63.

EXHIBITED: Paris, Petit Palais, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Venise aux XVIIIe – XIXe siècles / Venezia nei secoli XVIII e XIX, April – May 1919, no.11 (‘Atrio e Scalone di un Palazzo veneziano / Péristyle et Escalier d’un Palais vénitien. Dessin pour le tableau de la Galerie de Venise…(Proprieta del Cav. Antonio Grandi – Milano)’).

Long famous throughout Europe, Canaletto was elected on 11 September 1763 to the Venetian Accademia di Pittura, Scultura e Architettura. Required to provide a morceau de reception, the artist must have been aware that the resultant painting would be his legacy to his native city. Signed and dated 1765, the painting which served as his reception piece is now in the Galleria dell’Accademia in Venice. Exhibited in the Piazza San Marco in Canaletto’s honour in 1777, the painting was to remain for more than two centuries the only painting by the artist readily accessible in his native city, and it rapidly became his most celebrated work. Countless copies are known, derivative versions regularly being claimed to be autograph replicas.

The only other version in oil that is generally accepted as Canaletto’s work is that which is first recorded in a sale at Sotheby’s in London in 1981 and which has since been in the collection of Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza. At 42 x 32.5 cm., that painting is only slightly larger than the present sheet. The Thyssen version corresponds with that in the Gallerie dell’Accademia in its general composition, but there are numerous variations, particularly in the courtyard area, where the lower flight of stairs and the oeil-de-boeuf window are omitted and the door is moved to the garden wall, where a statue replaces the urn. The armorial achievement on the right wall is also lowered significantly.

The present sheet is the only known drawing by Canaletto which is unquestionably related to the Accademia painting. This large and highly finished drawing is first recorded in 1919, when it was exhibited at the Petit Palais in Paris, alongside the related canvas. It was subsequently published by Ettore Modigliani, the director of the Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan between 1908 and 1934. Untraced for eighty years, the drawing has often been described as preparatory for the 1765 painting. Now that it has re-emerged, however, it is clear that it follows the painting, and was executed as a finished work of art in its own right. There are, however, numerous small variations from the oil, an almost infinite number of slight shifts of proportion and adjustments, that make it anything but a slavish copy. Thus, for instance, here the pendant lantern on the left hangs lower, as does the tassel hanging to the left of the velvet curtain thrown over the interior balustrade. Whereas in the painting the arch through which the upper storey is seen touches the nearer of the two pilasters beyond the windows, in the drawing there is a considerable gap, while the large armorial at the right is shorter and slightly higher up. In applying darker wash over the lighter, no attempt is made to replicate similar patterns in the painting, whether it be in the cloud patterns, on the underside of the wooden planks of the floor of the upper storey, the underside of the architrave supported by the columns, or the walls of the garden or the exterior of the palace. All areas of foliage differ noticeably, including at the lower left, the trees beyond the garden wall, and those seen through the distant arch, while the leaves in the urn on the garden wall are significantly increased in size (and also in number), making it more of a focal point. The present sheet being a work on a much smaller scale, a number of features of the painting are omitted here: the long stick held by the man leaning over the balustrade on the left, the basket on the ground between the running boy and the prominent gentleman wearing a blue cloak, the sticks next to the man seated by the next column, the tricorne hat of the man standing beyond and the nearby dog, and the second figure on the upper flight of stairs. Among other minor changes, a scallop shell replaces a sculpted bust above the doorway on the stairs.

As Lionello Puppi has written of Canaletto’s mature pen and wash drawings, ‘These were clearly intended for collectors of pure graphic work. He used a wide range of techniques in these finished products, some of them experimental. It is also obvious that they were not simply exercises demonstrating the drawing skills of a virtuoso performer. On the


contrary, the artist was clearly trying new techniques here because he was looking for ways of expressing his ideas… Canaletto experimented with various kinds of pen, including quills, reeds and metal nibs, in search of the different effects that could be obtained with them. His use of techniques and implements was constantly developing, always complex. He used a variety of closely integrated techniques to produce a harmonious whole in the finished composition.’

The present sheet was previously only known from an old black and white photograph. Its re-emergence reveals that, while it has hitherto been recorded as monochrome, it is, in fact, embellished with small touches of watercolour, introduced with great restraint and evidently coeval with its execution. This is the only instance of the painter’s use of the watercolour medium that has been identified. (The Venetian connoisseur Francesco Algarotti is recorded as having owned ‘9 Vedute ad acquerello e penna’ by Canaletto which were estimated highly in the posthumous inventory of his brother Bonomo, but it is not known for sure that they were true watercolours rather than wash drawings.) It should come as no surprise that Canaletto worked in watercolour, however, for, as Puppi has pointed out, he showed an inexhaustible interest in technical experimentation. Indeed, watercolour must have been very familiar to him as a medium from his nine years in England, between 1746 and 1755, where it was particularly popular.

Roberto Contini states that an etching of the composition by the 18th century German printmaker Joseph Wagner, published in 1779 with an inscription describing it as after the Accademia painting, is in fact after the present sheet. While that is incorrect, it does correspond with the present watercolour in the relationship of the arch opening onto the upper storey with the windows and pilasters (as discussed above), in the man on the courtyard stairs being without a staff and in the standing man in the middle distance under the portico not wearing a tricorne hat.


Domenico Tiepolo

The Exaltation of the Sacrament

PROVENANCE: Anonymous sale, London, Sotheby’s, 11 March 1964, lot 138 (as Christ Received into Heaven); Private collection, England, until 2008; W. M. Brady & Co., New York; Private collection, Massachusetts.

LITERATURE: Adelheid M. Gealt and George Knox, Domenico Tiepolo: A New Testament, Bloomington, 2006, p.815, under no.299, fig.291 (as location unknown).

EXHIBITED: Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, Splendor and Elegance: European Decorative Arts and Drawings from the Horace Wood Brock Collection, 2009 [ex-catalogue].

The present sheet served as a model for a larger and more expansive drawing of the same subject by Domenico Tiepolo, today in the collection of the Bibliothèque Municipale in Rouen. The Rouen sheet was part of a distinctive group of around three hundred and twenty highly finished drawings, known as the ‘Large Biblical Series’, executed by Domenico over a period of several years between the 1770s and the 1790s. The pen and wash drawings of the ‘Large Biblical Series’ depict subjects taken mainly from the New Testament, as well as from fragmentary gospels and the Apocrypha. Usually set in elaborate interior or landscape settings, the drawings of the ‘Large Biblical Series’ are among the artist’s masterpieces as a draughtsman.

The subject of this drawing appears to represent the Feast of the Holy Sacrament as told in Jacobus de Voragine’s 13th century text known as the Legenda aurea (The Golden Legend): ‘The blessed Son of God would make us partners unto his divinity and godhead, and therefore took our nature to the end that making himself man, he would make men as gods. And all that he took of us, he gave all again to us for our salvation. He gave his proper body an offering unto God the Father on the altar of the cross, for our reconciliation, and shed his blood in price and washing our sins, to the end that we might be redeemed from the miserable servitude wherein we were, and that we should be also clean and cleansed of our sins.’


The Tiepolo scholar George Knox’s account of the subject of the Rouen drawing applies equally well to the present sheet: ‘In a stunningly complex visual exegesis on the Eucharist, Domenico shows Jesus offering the cup and wafer to God as he kneels upon the instruments of his Passion. Floating on a celestial cloud over an altar… this extraordinary apparition is blessed by the Holy Ghost…A crucifix placed over an altar is transformed into a vision of the Trinity supported on clouds, with Jesus kneeling before the Almighty, bearing the chalice and wafer of the Sacrament, wearing the crown of thorns, with the scourge of the flagellation by his side.’


Mauro Gandolfi

A Young Woman and a Bearded Old Man

PROVENANCE: P. & D. Colnaghi, London, in 1984; Private collection, New York; Thence by descent; Anonymous sale (‘Property of a New York Estate’), New York, Christie’s, 29 January 2015, lot 31; Private collection, New York.

LITERATURE: Prisco Bagni, I Gandolfi: Affreschi dipinti bozzetti disegni, Cittadella, 1992, p.504, no.475.

EXHIBITED: London, P. & D. Colnaghi, Old Master Drawings, 1984, no.43; Paris, Nicolas Schwed, Dessins anciens et du XIXème siècle, November 2022, no.17.

Mauro Gandolfi enjoyed a relatively brief career as a painter, and it is as a draughtsman that he is best known today. After training in his father’s studio, he left Bologna for France in 1782, at the age of eighteen, returning to Italy five years later. He also spent a number of years in France later in his career, and his work can be seen to be a blend of the Bolognese tradition inherited from his father and uncle with the Neoclassical manner prevalent in late 18th century France. His first independent works of any significance are two altarpieces painted in 1791 for the church of San Domenico in Ferrara. By 1794 he had been elected to the Accademia Clementina in Bologna, where he was later appointed to the post of professor of figure drawing. Gandolfi seems to have largely abandoned painting around the turn of the century in favour of working as a reproductive engraver, a practice he studied during a second stay in France between 1800 and 1806. Many of his prints were made after paintings by his father Gaetano Gandolfi, although he also produced engravings after the work of such contemporaries as Pelagio Palagi as well as earlier artists like Guido Reni. Mauro paid a visit to America in 1816, spending several months in New York and Philadelphia. In an account of his travels in America, written in 1822, he notes that he brought with him finished drawings to sell, although none have as yet been identified. On his return to Italy he worked briefly in Florence before settling in Milan. Much of his work was in the form of highly finished drawings and watercolours for sale to collectors, as well as designs for engravings, to be published and sold by a number of the art dealers and printsellers who were active in the city. After five years in Milan Mauro returned to Bologna for good in 1823 and died there, in impoverished circumstances, in 1834.

As the scholar Mimi Cazort has noted, ‘the characteristic features of Mauro’s drawings [are] an elegant refinement of line, precision of detail, and certain stylistic conceits for the rendering of hands and faces.’ The present sheet may be a study for a lithograph or engraving, but is equally likely to have been drawn as an independent work of art for sale to a collector. It can be related to a handful of highly finished drawings and watercolours, usually executed on vellum, produced by Gandolfi in the first quarter of the 19th century for a sophisticated clientele. In many of these late works, the artist adopted this sort of vignette composition, with large areas of paper left untouched on all sides. A similar technique and composition may be found, for example, in a self-portrait drawing in a private collection, which was later reproduced as an engraving by the Milanese printmaker Giuseppe Beretta. Another drawing in a private collection, showing the artist holding a guitar and derived from a painted self-portrait of c.1787, is also similar to the present sheet in its vignette format.

A trompe-l’oeil painting, showing the same figures as seen in this drawing, in similar poses, and taking the form of a print framed behind shattered glass, was in a private collection in Bologna in 1979. The woman in the present sheet also reappears in a similar pose at the lower right of a large and elaborate allegorical watercolour on vellum of The Artist’s Dream, signed and dated 1811, which appeared at auction in 1983 and is today in a private collection in Italy.

No.29 Canaletto Back cover: Salvator Rosa (1615-1673) Mercury Bearing a Cornucopia: Design for a Frontispiece for Francisco Serra, Synonymorum apparatus, 1654 No.22
Stephen Ongpin Fine Art Ltd. 82 Park Street London W1K 6NH Tel. [+44] (20) 7930-8813 e-mail:

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