While no works in black chalk can be mentioned as example, the manner in which this study is drawn presents numerous parallels which allow to attribute it to The Oracle of Battles. The head of the warrior evokes those of the beautiful Study of Two Conversing Soldiers (Stuttgart, Staatsgalerie, Sammlung König Fachsenfeld, inv. no II ,1968 ; fig.2), published by Vitzthum4 who did not connect it to the two soldiers on horseback5 that can be seen on the right of the king in the scene David and Abigail, presently a very damaged fresco with biblical subject matter which Falcone painted between the end of 1641 and the summer of 1642 in the chapel of Firrao di Sant’Agata in the basilica of San Paolo Maggiore in Naples6. Another comparison that confirms yet again the attribution of Study of a Soldier to Aniello is the comparison with a drawing in red chalk, little known and typical of the master’s hand, a Study of a Man Resting Near a Plinth (fig. 3) from Frederick and Lucy S. Herman Foundation (Williamsburg, Virginia) whose old mount bore Falcone’s name, information that had not been taken seriously until its authorship has been identified, and therefore it should be dated between 1645 and 16507. As previously announced, I am inclined to date the execution of the drawing under examination in the second half of 1640s or a little after. This is confirmed by the stylistic correspondence between the pose of the soldier, captured as a moment in time, on the recto of our drawing with the almost photographic quality of the soldiers representation in the impressive Battle of Pamplona, one of the episodes from the life of Saint Ignatius. This vault fresco, located in the sacristy of the church of Gesù Nuovo in Naples, is documented and dated in 1652 but was unfortunately seriously damaged by fire in 1963. Viviana Farina to help in dating this one. The artist, who rarely used black chalk, preferred red chalk and ink, sometimes enriched with watercolour. Following the example of Ribera, red chalk was largely used, in particular by Falcone and Andrea De Leone; the latter, being just slightly younger than the master, certainly became his apprentice around 1630 after his apprenticeship with Belisario Corenzio following the example of his brother Onofrio De Leone (born around 1608). We haven’t evoked Falcone’s name here accidentally. He had a crucial role in the production of battle paintings by Andrea who became his true partner in business following his apprenticeship. Moreover, the delicate but precise and incisive strokes without interruption delimit the contours of soldier’s silhouette, the outline of his hands and especially the face, evoking the works with classicizing accents typical for Aniello’s full maturity, while naturalism is postponed under the influence of the Bolognese master, Domenichino, active in Naples for about a decade. The connection between the verso of the Study of a Soldier and Andrea De Leone’s canvas mentioned in the beginning can be explained by the direct relation between the two masters who had a habit of exchanging drawings and cartoons in the setting of the shared atelier. We can mention as example Study of A Turk on a Horse and Two Other Studies of His Bust (London, collection Dr. M. Phelan), an extraordinary and undisputable instance of Aniello’s graphic art which apparently was never used on canvas, but which we find, with several minor modifications, on the right side and in the background of The Battle between Christians and Turks from the Louvre signed “Andrea de Lione f./1641”, during the period of the complete stylistic merging with Aniello3.
1 The attribution has been proposed by Stanislas d’Alburquerque. The painting was published by Arnauld Brejon de Lavergnée, « Nouvelles toiles d’Andrea Di Lione : essai de catalogue », dans Scritti di storia dell’arte in onore di Federico Zeri, Milan, 1984, p. 658, fig. 641. 2 With the exception of one Nude Study (inv. n. 9622 recto) preserved in the Louvre museum under the name of Aniello Falcone, but tentatively attributed to Andrea by Magda Novelli Radice, then by myself in my thesis (Viviana Farina, Per Aniello Falcone disegnatore, doctoral thesis, Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, a.a. 2002-2203, p. 78-79, 82-83, fig. 24), and of a Hercules Resting kept in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence as entourage of Salvator Rosa, which I gave back to Andrea’s maturity and in fact signed (inv. n. 2122F ; Viviana Farina, « Sulla fortuna napoletana dei “Baccanali” di Tiziano », Paragone, no 63, 71 (683), 2007, p. 19-20, 38, note 33, tab. 15). Marzia Faietti has since then accepted the attribution and has made the drawing catalogued as Andrea. 3 The drawing was published by Julien Stock (Civiltà del Seicento a Napoli, exhibition catalogue, Naples, Electa, 1984, vol. II, p. 87, cat. no 3.31) and connected by myself to the Louvre painting (Farina, 20022003, p. 126-127, 176-177, cat. F/f42). We should also point out the provenance from the 18th century collection of the brothers Terres, which can be recognized by the inscription « falcone – gr[ana] 180 » in pen and ink on the lower margin of the sheet. I was able to study this work thanks to the amiability of Julien Stock and of the owners. I would also like to express my gratitude to Cristiana Romalli who provided me with a good photograph. 4 Red chalk on paper (Walter Vitzthum, Il barocco a Napoli e nell’Italia meridionale, Milan, 1971, p. 89, 70, fig. 14). 5 It is a reference to a similar detail in the Martyrdom of Saint Andrew
110 NEAPOLITAN DRAWINGS