Description & Technical information

This engaging little drawing is a splendid example of Gaetano Gandolfi’s lively and spirited use of pen and wash. Donatella Biagi Maino has noted certain analogies between the present sheet (which she describes as ‘di qualità superba’) and one of Gandolfi’s finest works as a fresco painter; the mythological scenes painted on the ceilings of the palazzetto of Conte Massimiliano Gini in Bologna, executed in 1772 with quadratura decoration by Barozzi. In particular, the lunette scenes of satyrs and putti frescoed on the lower walls of an alcove in the Casa Gini compare favourably, in their sensuousness and vivacity, with drawings such as the present sheet, as well as a similar study of a Satyr Chasing a Nymph (Pan and Syrinx) in red chalk, in the collection of the Biblioteca National in Rio de Janeiro. 

A close stylistic comparison may be made with such drawings of mythological subjects by Gandolfi as two studies for a painting of The Triumph of Venus - one in a French private collection and the other in the Princeton University Art Museum in New Jersey - or a Judgement of Paris in a private collection.

Medium: Pen and brown ink and brown wash, over an underdrawing in black chalk
Signature: Inscribed Drawn by Gaetano Gandolfi Bolognese painter on the former mount.

Dimensions: 15.9 x 12.1 cm (6¹/₄ x 4³/₄ inches)
Provenance: F[rederic?] Maclellan Adami, Esq.
His sale, London, Christie’s, 29 June 1971, lot 124
Private collection
Anonymous sale, London, Sotheby’s, 7 July 1999, lot 49
P. & D. Colnaghi, London, in 2000
James Freeman, Kyoto
Stephen Ongpin Fine Art, London, in 2007
Private collection, New York.

Literature: Donatella Biagi Maino, Gaetano Gandolfi, Turin, 1995, p.57, fig.XIX, p.75.

Exhibitions: New York and London, Colnaghi, Master Drawings, 2000, no.28.

Categories: Paintings, Drawings & Prints