communicative figures joyously developing and with humour on a dancing rhythm laughing faces, mischievous expressions. The Triumph of Bacchus and Ariadne as well as their wedding are two themes taken from Ovid and Catullus and are often used in the history of art. The obvious model for Celebrano for the subject, but also for the intense and sensual atmosphere of the work, is the ceiling of the Farnese Gallery in Rome, painted by Annibale Carracci for Cardinal Odoardo Farnese. According to Pacelli, the profound assimilation of this great model and its transformation into a truly original work cannot be due to the study of the Gallery only from reproductive engravings and seems to prove a journey to Rome. The vitality, the joyous, brilliant expression that animates them explains the success of Celebrano during his lifetime, “a painter and sculptor of value”,1 who is one of those artists who, with “Diana, Fischetti, Dominici and Bardellino, destroy all idea of sterility and decadence at this time”.2 1 Pietro Napoli-Signorelli, Vicende della coltura nelle due Sicilie, Naples, 1811, t. VII, p. 250. 2 Idem, p. 255.
33 FRANCESCO Naples 1729 – 1814
is it has many characteristics of the drawings that came from the master’s workshop; the graphic technique, which combines pen and brown ink with grey wash, the chiaroscuro, which in fact allows the use of grey wash, ample draperies, the gestures and features of the figures, with fingers with round and curved extremities. Although the drawing lacks the impetus specific to the master, the quality is nevertheless worthy, and the names of some of his best pupils can be proposed. The subject is especially reminiscent of Francesco Celebrano and his frescoes of the Allegory of Summer and Autumn of the Palazzo Sangro of Naples. The robe tied around the waist of Ceres, which falls in folds on the sides, is typical of Celebrano and is found on many of his female silhouettes but rarely among the works of his companions. In the same way, the plump, playful putti with sometimes rather broad shoulders, are almost a signature. They can be compared to those in one of his rare known drawings, Spring, at the Museo di San Martino. Despite the different technique – the one in Naples is in black chalk – the manner of creating the eyes is absolutely identical and besides corresponds to his way of always making them quite striking. This allows us to propose this attribution, despite the absence of any corresponding picture or painted work.
Bagnoli Irpino 1718 – Naples 1778 Allegory of Summer; Ceres Surrounded by Putti Black chalk, pen and brown ink, wash, contours pricked, watermark of a fleur de lys in a circle 412 x 405 mm (16 1/4 x 16 in.)
PROVENANCE Christie’s London, 6-7 July 1987, lot 135 (as Francesco Solimena)
This large workshop drawing, pricked for transfer, is a cartoon that may prepare the door of a carriage, a sedan chair or a piece of furniture. It was for a long time attributed to Solimena,
A Man Leading a Woman into a Gallery of Antiquities and Decorative Arts Pen and grey ink, grey wash 281 x 210 mm (11 1/16 x 8 1/4 in.) In a more applied and smoother style than is usual, Giacomo Cestaro has depicted a man and a woman in a palace. The man is leading the woman who, wearing a crown of vegetation, resembles an allegory and is pointing out some precious works to him, pieces of silverware and archaeological objects, unless they are porcelains. A putto holding a statuette accompanies them. The specificity of this drawing is that it is probably a study for a frontispiece or an illustration for the catalogue of a collection of antiquities and objets d’art, which we have not yet been able to identify. It evokes the interest for the world of collecting and connoisseurs of antiquities in Naples, a lively interest sustained throughout the 18th century by Bourbon patronage and by the new archaeological discoveries of the sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum. As Wincklemann reports in his publication Storia dell’arte presso gli Antichi (Rome, 1783-84) already at the end of the 17th century, the lawyer Giuseppe Valletta collected Etruscan objects.1 The collection of Greek vases of Giovanni Carafa, Duca Di Noja, published in a catalogue in 1778, and of course the famous collections of William Hamilton, a veritable cultural centre that made Naples an essential place for lovers of antiquities. The objects in this drawing, the ewers and statuettes, could also be in porcelain and hence evoke the royal factory created by Charles de Bourbon and Maria-Amelia in 1743, transferred to Spain and then reinstalled at Portici by Ferdinand III under the name Real Fabrica Ferdinandea.
132 NEAPOLITAN DRAWINGS
Published on Mar 11, 2014