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Giovanni Battista Pittoni, dit Battista Vicentino (1520 – 1583)
Imaginary Landscape with the Ruins of the Colosseum
Pen, brown ink, incised
208 x 312 mm

Provenance:
Maréchal Exelmans (1775-1852);
In the family by descent

Recently rediscovered, our drawing is preparatory for the 13th plate of the recueuil Discorsi sopra L’Antichita di Roma by Vicenzo Scamozzi and is the only known drawing by Pittoni for this book. Vicenzo Scamozzi describes in each chapter an ancient monument of Rome. Chapter 13 is about the architecture of the Colosseum, and our drawing shows two views of the Roman arena: one is an exterior view of the still buried monument, the other is a cross section. In the background, two figures walk towards a city that could represent Rome. If Pittoni emphasizes the ephemeral character of ancient monuments with the ruins overgrown by vegetation, he also pays attention to their correct transcription. The archaeological precision responded to the interest of Renaissance intellectuals in ancient monuments and the need of artists to find visual sources to create their own classical landscapes. An example of this practice being Veronese’s use of Pittoni’s plates for the frescoes in Villa Barbaro in Maser and Domenico Brusasorci in Palazzo Vescovile in Verona.
Giovanni Francesco Barbieri called Guercino (1591 - 1666)
Young Man Seen in Half-Length Looking Over his Right Shoulder
Pen and brown ink
222 x 185 mm (8 3/4 x 7 1/4 in.)
Inscribed in pen and brown ink right corner: 2

Selected provenance : Guercino's studio, Bologna; Bought circa 1745 by John Bouverie; Purchased in 1922 by Dan Fellow Platt (1873-1938); Private Collection, Great-Britain

Our drawing is most probably a first study for the young man seen from the back in the picture Damon and Pythias today in the Confederazione Nazionale dei Coltivatori Diretti, Palazzo Rospigliosi, Rome. The execution of our drawing can be situated at the beginning of the 1630s. Guercino's studies in pen and ink executed at that time present identical stylistic characteristics as the texture "in fish filet".
Girolamo Troppa (1630-1710)
Saint Jerome
Pen and brown ink, brown wash, on red chalk
297 x 186 mm

Provenance :
Galerie Stanza del Borgo, Milan 1987;
Private collection, south of France

Recent publications on the paintings and drawings of Girolamo Troppa allow us to better understand his work. The present drawing of Saint Jerome was most likely executed between 1665 and 1670, a period during which Troppa was influenced by the work of Pier Francesco Mola. He borrows elements from the Roman master in his compositions, his style, and also his subjects. Troppa produced at least five paintings on the theme of Saint Jerome, a subject amply worked on by Mola. The fluidity of the pen strokes, the strong contrast of shadow and light, and the technique of red chalk enhanced with brown wash seen in the present work are all typical characteristics of drawings by Mola. The kinship between the work of the two artists suggest that Troppa may even have worked in Mola's studio during the years 1665-1670.

Despite the large influence of Mola, the present drawing presents elements specific to Troppa's graphic technique, such as diamond shaped eyes, pointed fingers, and the astonished expression of the saint, which gives the scene it’s energy.
Francesco Monti (1685 – 1768)
Marsyas, after the Sculpture by Pierre Le Gros
Red chalk, white chalk on yellow prepared paper
495 x 304 mm (19 ½ x 12 in.)

Francesco Monti was a prolific draftsman. The artist distinguished himself by his use of colored paper, often prepared, and white chalk, drawn with a very fine and vibrant line, giving crystalline effects to the light. If Monti drew mainly in black chalk and sometimes charcoal, he also used red chalk. Three other drawings executed in red and white chalk on yellow prepared paper by the artist are known: The Immaculate Conception and Jesus Chasing the Merchants from the Temple, both at the Academy of Carrara, as well as Cain and Abel in a private collection. Strong expression, sometimes almost violent in feeling, characterize Monti's drawings.

Our drawing is a study made after the sculpture Marsyas by Pierre Le Gros (1666-1719), or one of the many versions or casts of the sculpture. The sculpture appears to have been executed around 1715. Le Gros’ Marsyas was highly appreciated in the eighteenth century. Copies have been found in England, France, and northern Italy.
Francesco Polazzo (1683 - 1753), attributed to
A Study of a Female Figure Cloaked in an Elaborate Drapery, her Left Arm Raised and Seen from Below
Black chalk, squared in black chalk, framing lines in pen and black ink
188 x 160 mm (7 3/8 x 6 5/16 in.)

Student of Giovanni Battista Piazzetta, Francesco Polazzo painted altarpieces for Venetian churches and executed decorative works for important patrician families. Our drawing shows stylistic affinities with the graphic work of the artist and evokes the female figures painted by Polazzo in the Palazzo Zen between 1735 and 1737.
Ippolito Caffi (1809-1866)
Two Young Women in a Gothic Interior
Brown wash, white gouache, graphite
166 x 207 mm, 6 9/16 x 8 1/8 in.
Signed lower left: Caffi Diso ...

Ippolito Caffi was an Italian painter known for his landscapes of Italy, and in particular of Venice, Rome, and Naples, which he intended for sale to travellers on the Grand Tour. The present drawing is a rare example of an interior scene by the artist. Here, Caffi devoted himself entirely to a scene in the troubadour genre. Two other drawings by Caffi, a Couple in Love and Interior of a Church with Figures, recently on the art market, take place in the same setting. In these three drawings, the artist explores the pictorial possibilities of dramatic lighting created by open windows and doors illuminating dark interiors.
NATHALIE MOTTE MASSELINK