Description & Technical information

Laid down on an 18th century Italian mount.

To judge by his annotation on a photograph of the present sheet in the Witt Library, James Byam Shaw may have been the first scholar to attribute this drawing to Ubaldo Gandolfi. The drawing may be compared stylistically with a handful of decorative designs by Ubaldo, such as three drawings of fountains; one in the Palazzo Rosso in Genoa and another in a private collection, as well as a third sold at auction in 1997. Also comparable in style and technique is a rather fantastical drawing of Figures Watching a Man Spout Water from his Mouth, probably also a design for a fountain, in the Museo del Prado in Madrid.

The putti at the top of the present sheet have their counterparts in a drawing of Three Putti with a Medallion, also in the Prado, a drawing of A Faun Bearing a Pair of Putti on a Tray on his Head in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and a Design for a Door Knocker, formerly in the Lodewijk Houthakker collection and recently acquired by the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

A fine copy of the present sheet by Domenico Pedrini (1728-1800), who was much influenced by Ubaldo Gandolfi, is in the collection of the Fondazione Giorgio Cini in Venice. The Cini drawing served as the cover of the catalogue of the Mostra di Settecento Bolognese, the seminal exhibition of Emilian art held in Bologna in 1935.

Period:  1600-1750, 1750-1850, 18th century
Origin:  Italy
Medium: Pen, Brown ink, Brown wash, Red chalk underdrawing
Signature: Inscribed G on the verso, laid down. 

Dimensions: 30 x 21 cm (11³/₄ x 8¹/₄ inches)
Provenance: Possibly the Baronessa Emma Dantoni Camuccini, Rome
Anonymous sale, Florence, Sotheby’s, 18 October 1969, lot D43 (as Gaetano Gandolfi)
Anonymous sale, New York, Sotheby’s, 12 January 1990, lot 35.
Literature: Armelle Baron, ‘Au Palais de la Bourse, les incontournables du Salon du dessin’, L’Objet d’Art, March 2012, p.76; Marco Riccòmini, I Gandolfi: Disegni della raccolta Certani alla Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Venice, 2018, p.82, fig.40.1.
Exhibitions: Bologna, Palazzo Comunale, Mostra del Settecento Bolognese, 1935, room 17, no.126 (as Filippo Pedrini).

Categories: Paintings, Drawings & Prints