ink brown wash, white highlights and measure respectively 42 x 62.7 cm and 41 x 62.7. They have been published on several occasions and included in the exhibition “Civilta dell’Ottocento”, at the Museo di Capodimonte of Naples and at the Palazzo Reale of Caserta, in 1997 (exhibition catalogue, no 16.15, illustrated). 2 There is for instance a preparatory drawing that is quite detailed, but all the same in a more relaxed style (Sotheby’s 30 January 2013, lot 318) for one of his frescoes at the Palazzo Castriota Scanderberg (1794), the Apollo and Marsyas. 3 Fabiana Mendia, “Sugli sviluppi del neoclassicismo a Napoli: Giuseppe Cammarano pittore, decoratore e pittore figurista nei teatri reali”, Bollettino d’arte, no 74-75, 1992, p. 31-64.
seen with excessive muscle structure, constricted and tense poses, belonging to an exaggeratedly expressive neoclassical aesthetic in his demonstration of strength and virility. The old mount of the second of the Sotheby’s drawings bore the date of 1799 which provides a precious indication that is perfectly logical. Our drawing and the two sold at Sotheby’s indeed fit well stylistically between other graphic works: a drawing of the Società Napoletana di Storia Patria in Naples bearing the date of 1792 and a sheet of 1811 of the Museo di San Martino in Naples, for example. The first, Achilles with the body of Patroclus, created in Rome, is much less skilful, however already with the tendency to blacken the eyes, while the second Psyche carried by the Wind is of an already more sinuous and more precious neoclassicism, more strongly influenced by German neoclassicism than French. While still very young, Cammarano had worked with Fedele Fischetti, in the church of Santa Maria at Pugliano for example, then with Jacob Philipp Hackert at the Casino di Cardito. Noticed by Ferdinand IV of Naples, he was awarded a prize and sent to Rome where he discovered the works of Anton Raphael Mengs and Pompeo Batoni. On his return, he worked with Andrea Giusti on the restoration of the Villa della Tenuta di Carditello. In 1799, at the time of the short-lived Neapolitan republic, Cammarano was in Naples where he had numerous contacts with Heinrich Friedrich Füger and J. Heinrich Wilhelm Tischbein, representatives of German Neoclassicism. What therefore was the purpose of these drawings in the context of the career of a painter who was still young, appreciated, close to Neoclassical circles but who had also worked alongside representatives of late Baroque such as Fischetti? Do they form a series that prepares a décor intended to be created, perhaps in grisaille or camaieu?2 Or rather drawings drawn for their own sake? Their level of finish and the sophistication of their technique plead in favour of this hypothesis. In October 1799, Cammarano asked to be appointed Professor at the Fine Arts academy of Naples: with these drawings could he be seeking, as Fabiana Mendia suggested in her article on the master,3 to prove his adherence to the principles of “simplicity of composition which had been achieved since David […], the abstract purity of the line” advocated by its director Tischbein, who in fact resigned the same year? 1 They were sold by Sotheby’s Milan on 22 June 2004, and their current location is now unknown. They are in pen and brown
135 NEAPOLITAN DRAWINGS
Published on Mar 11, 2014