We wish to thank Mrs Bo?ena Anna Kowalczyk who suggested the attribution to Francesco Battaglioli based on a photograph of the artwork.
The technique of this luminous architectural drawing with its rigorous perspective is perfectly representative of the creations of the Venetian school’s 18th century vedutists. Similar drawings support its attribution to Francesco Battaglioli.
1. Francesco Battaglioli
Little is known about the life of Francesco Battaglioli. Born in Modena in 1725, where he probably did his apprenticeship, he was admitted around 1750 to the Fraglia, the Venetian painters' guild.
A painter of vedute and caprice, he also participated in the decoration of operas, in particular during a stay in Spain from 1754 to 1760 as stage painter to Ferdinand VI. It was during this stay that the famous castrato Carlo Broschi, known as Farinelli, commissioned him to paint a series of canvases to immortalise the most famous operas performed in the Royal Coliseum of the Buen Retiro in front of Ferdinand VI and Barbara de Braganza. Several canvases from this series are preserved at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in San Fernando, in the Prado in Madrid, and at the Garnier Opera House in Paris.
Battaglioli became a member of the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice in 1772 and succeeded Antonio Visentini (1688 - 1782) as professor of perspective in 1778.
Our drawing is very close in style to two drawings signed by Battaglioli: one is in the collection of the Albertina in Vienna, while the other was sold in 2009 at Karl & Faber in Munich.
2. Description of the artwork
Like an opera set, our drawing is organised in successive planes which take our eyes through a vast baroque styled building. In the foreground on the left stand two columns, then we see a first space delimited by a wall decorated with two niches containing a statue and a rococo urn. This space opens up through a semi-circular arch into a third monumental hall bordered by a colonnade and covered by a frescoed vault. It is difficult to establish whether we are in a sacred or a secular interior: the presence of statues might suggest that we are in a church, whereas the final opening, through a new arch, onto a landscape evokes a grand ballroom.
The rigorous perspective is very similar to drawings made with a camera obscura. However, the landscape in the background suggests that this is probably an architectural capriccio, perhaps inspired by a real building. The lines drawn on the ground guide our eyes along the perspective. The modulation of the light, rendered by the grey ink wash brings life to this entirely mineral world.
This drawing is sold unframed. As a framing option we can propose an 18th century Italian frame, as shown on the photos (price on request).
Delevery information :
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