inspired by Correggio and his Assumption of the Virgin in the Duomo of Parma (1526-1530). Correggio as a draughtsman was in addition also adept at the use of red chalk. A sitting figure, overturned, on the verso of our sheet recalls an angel used on two occasions by the artist in his decoration for St. John of Valetta in Malta (1660). Although it is not strictly speaking a preparatory study for this figure of an angel, the similarity of poses, the very free, rapid manner of the drawing could confirm a dating of the sheet around the 1660s. The drawings of this period, such as the emale figure on her Chariot drawn by Two Horses (Ferretti Collection, Toronto), preparatory for the Air room of the Palazzo Pamphilj de Valmontone in Rome, and a Venus Contemplating the body of the dead Adonis (private collection), illustrate the same qualities. But earlier drawings, such as those which are preparatory for the cupola of Modena, already have this synthetic and brilliant manner of evoking form and volume simply with wash emphasized by a few evocative touches of red chalk.1 It is also a manner that was to be used successfully by the protean draughtsman that was Giordano - but rather with black chalk and brown wash – the two artists influenced each other during Preti’s stay in Naples. According to Bernardo De Dominici, Giordano said that Preti had “the true manner of drawing, from the correctness of his perfect outlines, and for the perfect comprehension of chiaroscuro.”2 1 Putto seen from behind, Sotheby’s New York, 26 January 2011, lot 549. 2 Bernardo De Dominici, Vite dei Pittori, Scultori ed Architetti Napoletani, Naples, Francesco e Cristoforo Ricciardo, 1742, p. 437.
Arenella 1615 – Rome 1673
Rocky Landscape with a Large Tree and Two Figures Pen, point of paintbrush and brown ink, brown wash and white highlights on panel. Signed Rosa lower left 613 x 400 mm (24 1/8 x 15 ¾ in.)
PROVENANCE Colnaghi, catalogue 2000, no 21
BIBLIOGRAPHY Ritorno al barocco, da Caravaggio a Vanvitelli, Naples, Electa, 2010, vol. 2, p. 83, no 3.42 Another version of this composition, of lesser quality, is at the Musée Fabre in Montpellier.1 Mahoney also mentions a drawing in Besançon2 as well as a copy, in red chalk at the Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton MA.3 Salvator Rosa, always eager to impress his intellectual and artistic entourage, here tries to draw on a different support, wood. This rarely used technique produces a strange and attractive monochrome effect. The landscape can be related to an entire group of works drawn in the same manner on these panels, which probably come from packing cases. They are above all depictions of landscapes with or without human figures, whose atmosphere, always very disturbing and stormy, is specific to the artist.4 These works are all dated to the1660s, the period of his painting of The Death of Empedocles, a rare and striking subject that shows Rosa’s interest in the world of the ancient philosophers and scientists and their brave or heroic deaths. In Rome, Rosa frequented philosophers and scientists such as the Jesuit Athanasius Kircher a lover of magic and mathematics, author of the Mundus Subterraneus (Amsterdam, 1665) the historian Daniello Bartoli, and Giovanni Alfonso Borelli and his
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Published on Mar 11, 2014