“Fu anco discepolo di Ridolfo [del Ghirlandaio], Carlo Portegli da Loro di Valdarno di sopra ; di mano del quale sono in Fiorenza alcune tavole ed infiniti quadri in Santa Maria Maggiore, in Santa Felicita, nelle monache di Monticelli ; ed in Cestello la tavola della capell de’Baldesi, a man ritta all’entrare di chiesa ; nella quale é il martirio di Santo Romolo vescovo di Fiesole.” These few lines by Giorgio Vasari in his Lives (1568 edition) are the basis for our knowledge about the work of Carlo Portelli, currently the subject of a monographic exhibition in Florence Carlo Portelli, pittore eccentrico tra Rosso Fiorentino e Vasari (Galleria dell’Accademia, 22 December 2015-30 April 2016), which presents most of his oeuvre. In the major essay by Marzia Faietti on his graphic work, published in the exhibition catalogue (“Carlo Portelli disegnatore”, p. 83-91), a drawing from the Louvre is reproduced (fig. 4) the subject of which is identical to ours (with more figures) and shows the same profiles with pointed noses and hands whose long pointed fingers are spread out like claws. Our drawing, which is highly finished in manner, could be what is very efficiently called in English a presentation drawing, in other words a worked up model of the piece that is to be created. The patron would thus have had a special devotion for Francis of Assisi and Mary Magdalene, but the way Christ’s body is presented, so as not to say exhibited, is closer to the type of devotion associated with the Theatins, created in 1524 as a reaction of the Reformation (see the article by Philippe Costamagna on this, “La création de l’ordre des Théatins et ses répercussions sur l’art de Rosso Fiorentino et de ses contemporains” in Pontormo e Rosso, Venice, 1996, p. 157-163), inviting the faithful to venerate the Eucharist through the body of Christ, as well as the emphasis in the foreground of the work of the instruments of the Passion, which remind him or her that Christ died for the salvation of his or her soul. In 1561, Portelli created a Pieta (no 38 of the exhibition Carlo Portelli...) the composition of which can be compared to our drawing for the central group, Mary’s arms outstretched in the same dramatic way as on the sheet published here but reduced to only the figures of Christ and the Virgin and two angels.
Formerly attributed to Parmigianino, as shown by the inscriptions on the mount, this drawing is in fact typical of Orsi. It is probably related to the decoration of the Casino di Sopra at Novellara owned by Count Camillo Gonzaga begun by Lelio Orsi in 1558. The frescoes were detached in 1848 and after various vicissitudes only some were acquired by the Italian state, now deposited at the Museo Gonzaga in Novellara. The decor which was quite complex combined allegories framed by caryatids and telamons (in grisaille), figures of gods and busts in niches, and the tympanums above the doors were adorned with figures in foreshortening and “cuirs”. Several drawings connected to this decoration are known at the Louvre, the British Museum, the Seattle Art Museum and in private collections (all these drawings are reproduced in the exhibition catalogue Lelio Orsi (1511-1587), dipinti e disegni, Reggio Emilia, 1987, nos 94, 95, 99, 100). More recently two drawings repeating two of the figures in our sheet (the one in the centre and the one on the right), have reappeared at auction and been linked to the decoration of the Casino di Sopra (see Massimo Pirondini, “Lelio Orsi, aggiornamenti ed inediti”, in Orsi a Novellara. Un grande manierista in una piccola corte, atti della giornata di studi, Teatro della Rocca, Novellara, 2012, p. 25-39; the drawings are reproduced fig. 22, p. 32).
The attribution given on the back of the sheet seems entirely acceptable to us, on the basis of comparison with various small paintings by the artist where the manner of applying light using vibrant strokes is comparable to that where the wash is applied over rapid strokes of pen in our drawing. In the same way, the figures’ morphology, or the manner of grouping them, can be found in works such as for example the Holy Family with St. John the Baptist (versions in Schleisseim and Ferrara, respectively nos 154 and 174 of the catalogue raisonné by Maria Angela Novelli, Scarsellino, Milan, 2008). The artist’s drawings are rare: in the publication referred to, the author only reproduces two (no 258, Holy Family with St. John the Baptist and St. Ann, at the Uffizi, and no 277, St. John the Baptist Preaching, at the Albertina) without commenting on them, while she listed fifteen drawings in the previous edition (Lo Scarsellino, Bologna, 1955), all conserved at the Uffizi. Their style is entirely compatible with that of our sheet, as is the Allegory of Justice at the Uffizi, published by Alessandro Morandotti (“Scarsellino fra ideale classico e maniera internazionale”, in Arte a Bologna, no 4, 1997, p. 26-48, fig. 5, p. 31).
It is on the initiative of Pope Clement VIII Aldobrandini while visiting Loreto in 1598, that the decision was taken to build a sacristy to accommodate the many presents offered to the basilica. Construction work began the following year and fresco decoration started in 1605 and was finished in 1609. The contract specified that the decoration was to be devoted to the Life of the Virgin, that scenes of her terrestrial life were to occupy the sides of the ceiling, while scenes from her celestial life would be in the centre. Once the decoration of the sacristy was finished, Roncalli was asked in 1609 to paint the cupola of the basilica on the theme of the Coronation of the Virgin within three years. These frescoes have since been destroyed: badly damaged by water leaks, they were scrubbed between 1888 and 1895. Only a few fragments have survived, and a drawing of the composition is in the basilica’s archives.
The drawing presented here is to date the only one known showing a full composition of the sacristy’s decoration (however several figure studies in black chalk and/or red chalk are known), and it should be noted that pen drawings by Roncalli are quite rare.
This oil on paper, quite a common technique for Ridolfi and his contemporaries in Verona, is a highly finished modello for the large pala (4.40 metres high) of the church of Sant’Anastasia in Verona (the chapel of the Rosary), which is generally dated to 1619 according to the information provided by Bartolomeo Dal Pozzo (Le Vite de’ pittori, degli scultori e architetti veronesi, 1718). The only noteworthy variant is the absence in our work of the child in the foreground of the painting.
Sources are vague about Ridolfi’s training; some place him in the wake of Veronese (1528-1588) in Venice, but the influence of Palma Giovane (c. 1548-1628) is equally evident in his work. From 1597, he is documented in the Marche where he spent most of his career, except for two periods spent in Verona, from 1617 to 1620 and then in 1639. It is during his first return to his home city that he painted, in 1619, the gigantic canvas corresponding to our modello. The painter seems here to be moving closer to the graphic style of his contemporary Alessandro Turchi (1578-1649); the influence of Federico Barocci (1535-1612), the predominant figure in the artistic milieu of the Duchy of Urbino is totally absent here, while it is manifest in the works created in the Marche.
Lamponi Collection, Florence, stamp upper left (L.1760); his sale in Florence on 11 November 1902, no 323 of the catalogue (as Giovanni da San Giovanni)
Throughout his short career Cantarini continued to draw from the live model, making full figures, head studies and sketches of details. The drawing presented here, formerly considered to be the work of the Florentine artist Giovanni da San Giovanni (1592-1636), should in our view be attributed to him. The model could be the same as in drawings conserved in Munich (Staatliche Graphische Sammlung) and Venice (Gallerie dell’Accademia), reproduced in the catalogue Simone Cantarini detto il Pesarese 1612-1648, Bologna, 1997-1998, nos II.14 to II.20.
The angular and at times schematic graphic style of this drawing led to it being attributed in the past to Luca Cambiaso (1527-1585), before being considered the work of Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617-1682) due to the very dense network of pen strokes. We now wish to give it to Reynaud Levieux by comparison with the few identified graphic works of the artist, essentially an etching showing the Holy Family (cf. Henri Wytenhove, Reynaud Levieux et la Peinture classique en Provence, Aix-en-Provence, Édisud, 1990, no G1) duly signed, and a drawing showing Diana and Endymion, annotated on the early mount “Reynaud Levieux (…) 1654” (Rouen, Musée des Beaux-Arts, inv. 1975-4-702 ; see Wytenhove, op. cit., no D2). A figure such as the angel in a chasuble and surplus with long tubular drapes on the left, its face turned towards the Holy Family, and the nose “a quarter of a Brie” is a true signature of Levieux; this angel is, in addition, the perfect twin of the Endymion in the Rouen drawing. No painted composition is known, either existing or mentioned by early sources, corresponding to this drawing, nor does it resemble any drawings mentioned by Charles Philippe de Chennevières-Pointel in his “Life” of Levieux in the Recherches sur la vie et les ouvrages de quelques peintres provinciaux de l’ancienne France, Paris, Dumoulin, 1847 (we have used the Minkoff reprint, Geneva, 1973, p. 87-93). In addition to the two works mentioned above, the graphic corpus of Reynaud Levieux as currently published includes a Study of a Male Nude in the Cerralbo Museum of Madrid (inv. 6381), annotated “de le vieux” (Wytenhove, op. cit, no D3), a drawing showing Cephalus and Procris at the Musée des Beaux-Arts of Marseille (inv. C.521 ; cf. Le Dessin baroque en Languedoc et en Provence, Toulouse, musée Paul-Dupuy, 1992, no 13, entry by Marie-Claude Homet), and a red chalk drawing in the Musée Calvet which is traditionally considered to be a Self-portrait (Wytenhove op. cit., no D1), these last two drawings do not have any inscription, and finally the Christ with Martha and Mary also annotated “Le Vieux” formerly in the Chennevières collection (cf. Louis-Antoine Prat and Laurence Lhinares, La Collection Chennevières. Quatre siècles de dessins français, Paris, 2007, no 265; Chennevières also owned the drawing that is now in Rouen, as well as three other sheets that have still not been identified). A study in a private collection showing A Bishop Saint Reviving a Body, annotated “par R. Levieux” and considered by Henri Wytenhove (op. cit., no Dr2, p. 163) to be the copy of a lost composition should be reconsidered, while a drawing that appeared recently on the art market (Tajan, 18 November 2015, no 53, The Holy Family with St. Elizabeth and St. John the Baptist) could be an example of the artist’s style when drawing with a only a pencil.
A protestant who converted to Catholicism, a Provencal man established in Rome, Levieux began his career as an apprentice with his father, a glass painter originally from Uzès, but as early as 1635 he was in Rome, working under Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665) on copies of major works in Roman collections intended to serve as tapestry cartoons for the royal residences. Back in Nîmes in 1644, he had to face competition from Nicolas Mignard (1606-1668) for the execution of the altarpiece for the cathedral. After a short stay in Montpellier, he settled in Avignon around 1651 where he received commissions from the Charterhouse of Villeneuve and the Black Penitents. Jean Daret (1613-1668) and Nicolas Mignard having left for Paris, Levieux settled in Aix around 1661 and became the official painter to the city, participating in the works on the Hotel de Ville, and continuing to paint large altarpieces in an austere style that foreshadows neoclassicism (his Death of St. Ann, painted for the Charterhouse of Serra San Bruno, in Calabria was until recently still considered to be a neoclassical work). In 1669 he returned to Rome permanently but continued to send works back to Provence. Only four paintings by him are currently known in Italy: a Virgin and Child with St. Benedict, St. Maur and Two Angels in the church of Garlenda in Liguria (lost), St. Denis Healing a Blind Man of 1676 (Rome, San Luigi dei Francesi) and the Death of St. Ann, for the charterhouse of Serra San Bruno in Calabria (Vibo Valentia), all three are reproduced by Henri Wytenhove (op. cit., nos 5,51, 53) and a Virgin and Child with St. John the Baptist and an Angel at the Palazzo Bianco of Genoa (published independently by Bruno Mottin (p. 18 and fig. 9 p. 25) and Marie-Claude Homet (p. 37) in “Reynaud Levieux, 1613-1699, état de la question” papers from a conference held on 21 March 2003 published by Études vauclusiennes, nos 72-73, July-December 2004, January-June 2005). In this last painting, the angel carrying the basket of fruits is very close to the one in our drawing, while another painting recently acquired by the Strasburg Museum, Rest on the Flight into Egypt (cf. Études vauclusiennes, op. cit., fig. 11, p. 26) shows, in addition to an angel comparable to ours, an architectural background that is punctuated by columns similar to the semi-circular background in our drawing (an evocation of the classical theatres of Provence?).
A pupil in Venice of a French miniature painter and then of an English pastel artist, Rosalba Carriera from the start concentrated on pastel portraits and very quickly won great international fame, confirmed by trips to Paris in 1720 during which she was received at the Académie Royale, Modena in 1723, and Vienna in 1730 to teach pastel to the Empress and make portraits of the Imperial children.
Rosalba Carriera’s drawings are rare. Bernardina Sani lists only four in the artist’s catalogue (Rosalba Carriera, Turin, Allemandi, 1988, nos 83, 108, 214, 335) and none, no more than ours, prepares a pastel or a miniature, but each is in fact an independent work. The model of our drawing resembles the Young Lady Crowned with Flowers in the Stockholm Nationalmuseum (Bernardina Sani, op. cit., no 291), dated for stylistic reasons around 1735, but also with the Countess Potocka (Bernardina Sani, op. cit., no 304, in a Milanese private collection), a work from end of the artist’s career.
Camille Groult (1837-1908); his son Jean Groult (1868-1951); his son Pierre Bordeaux-Groult (1916-2007); [Groult] sale Paris, palais d’Orsay, 14 December 1979, no 14
Karl Theodor Parker and Jacques Mathey, Antoine Watteau. Catalogue complet de son œuvre dessiné, Paris, F. de Nobele, 1957, t. I, no 1 (reproduced)
Margaret Morgan Grasselli, The Drawings of Antoine Watteau, Stylistic Development and Problems of Chronology, PhD dissertation (not consulted), 1987
Pierre Rosenberg and Louis-Antoine Prat, Antoine Watteau 1684-1721, catalogue raisonné des dessins, Milan, Leonardo, 1996, t. I, no 126 (reproduced in black and white, actual size)
This drawing is preparatory for the painting Festivities in Honour of the God Pan, known from Aubert’s print and which Margaret Morgan Grasselli (1987, op. cit.), repeated by Pierre Rosenberg and Louis-Antoine Prat (1996, op. cit.), dates around 1711-1712, a suggestion that also applies to our sketch as well as to two other ones that relate to this painting (Rosenberg-Prat, op. cit., nos 127, 128). Some variants compared with the print can be seen, especially in the shape of the hat and in the left hand. Unlike the traditional iconography of Italian comedy, the doctor shown here is not a fat old fogy, but a young man.
Antoine Boizot is essentially known today for being the father of Louis-Simon Boizot (1743-1809) who was a sculptor to the King and director of the sculpture workshop of the Sèvres factory; he nevertheless enjoyed an honourable career: winning the Prix de Rome in 1730 and was pensionnaire at the Palazzo Mancini from 1732 to 1735, agréé at the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture on 28 April 1736 and admitted as a full member on 25 May 1736 on presentation of the painting that is now at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Tours, Apollo Caressing Leucothoe, the only work by him that is today a little known (in French public collections, other works are Portrait of a Man in Quimper, The Sermon on the Mount in the church Notre-Dame de Vitry-le-François of 1758). He was also Ordinary Painter to the King, exhibited regularly at the Salon until 1771 and was a draftsman at the Gobelins factory, probably thanks to support from Jean-Baptiste Oudry (1686-1755), his first wife’s father. The livrets of the Salons at which Boizot exhibited provide five subjects combining Venus and Amor: in 1738, Venus Disarming Amor (no 112) and Amor Stung by a Bee (no 114); in 1741, The Education of Amor (no 91); in 1743 The Reconciliation of Venus and Amor; in 1755, Love Punished (no 64). We opt for Amor Stung by a Bee, the child showing his mother where he has been stung. This thus makes our sheet the earliest identified drawing by Boizot, by whom an Aurora Asking Amor to Rejuvenate Tithonus of 1753 in Poitiers (inv. 890.11) and finally an Annunciation of 1756 at the Louvre (inv. 23839, recto) are also known.
Charles-Claude Lebas de Courmont, Vie de Guillaume Boichot…, Paris, Firmin Didot, 1823, p. 39
Jules Guillemin, Guillaume Boichot 1735-1814, Chalon-sur-Saône, 1868, p. 69
Guillaume Boichot was simultaneously a painter, sculptor and architect, but it would not be an exaggeration to say that today he is known essentially for his drawings. After training locally with the ornamental sculptor Pierre Colasson (1724-1774), he moved to Paris for the first time in 1756, also living there from 1761 to 1765, where he was a pupil of the sculptor Simon Challe (1719-1765). After failing to win the Rome prize in 1765, he decided to travel to Italy at his own expense, from March 1766. Back in Chalon in 1770, he married his cousin Claudine Eyzandeau on 31 July of that year. He worked then for a few years in Burgundy and was admitted to the Dijon academy in 1775 before leaving again for Paris in 1780, where he became agréé at the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture on 26 July 1788. From 1789 to 1795, he was very busy: a member of the Jury des Arts, he was involved in the Competition of the Year II and participated in projects for the Pantheon. From 1795, he taught for several years at the École Centrale de Saône-et-Loire at Autun, before returning to Paris in 1800 where, helped by his relations with Dominique Vivant Denon and Alexandre Lenoir, he worked for the State on the Grande-Armée Column, the Arc du Triomphe du Carrousel and the Palace of the Legislative Body. He also made sculptures for the church of Saint-Roch, the Luxemburg and Tuileries Palaces. In 1806, he illustrated a translation of Giorgio Vasari’s Lives of the Artists by Charles-Claude Lebas de Courmont, who also published in 1823 a Life of Guillaume Boichot, the first publication on the artist.
Our drawing, which is characteristic of Boichot’s style, shows his dependence on the Mannerism of Fontainebleau, discovered during a visit to the chateau during his years of training with Challe. The female figures with long legs owe much to the caryatids of the Francis I Gallery and the Chamber of the Duchesse d’Étampes; the way of grouping the figures is inspired by the frescoes of the ballroom. Conceived as a bas-relief, our drawing is however not a study for a sculpture, but in fact an independent work intended for sale. It was mounted by François Renaud, who was active at the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th, and who also traded in drawings by contemporary artists. From this, it is possible to deduce that our drawing was part of one of the groups sent by Boichot to various Parisian Salons (1789, 1791, 1793, 1795), but the descriptions in the livrets are too brief (“the wine harvest”, “Bacchanals”, “bistre drawing”, “various drawings”) to attempt an identification. However, it attracted the attention of his first biographer Charles-Claude Lebas de Courmont (op. cit.), who placed it at the top of his “list of the drawings by this artist which we know”: “Two Bacchantes with a satyr and a billy goat, behind whom two children in the tub are treading grapes, very beautiful drawing in pen, washed with India ink, in the style of Primaticcio”, a description that was piously repeated in the second biography of Boichot, by Jules Guillemin (op. cit.), who placed it at the beginning of his “Catalogue of the works of Boichot, other than those indicated in the notice.”
Louise-Marie-Adélaïde de Bourbon-Penthièvre (1753-1821) was a great granddaughter of Louis XIV and Madame de Montespan. On 5 April 1769, she married her cousin Louis-Philippe Joseph d’Orléans (1747-1793) Duc de Montpensier, de Chartres who became Duc d’Orléans in 1785 on his father’s death. Several children were born from this union, including the future King of the French, Louis-Philippe.
Carmontelle (the origin of the name he took on is not known) entered the service of the Duc d’Orléans as a reader for the Duc de Chartres. He followed the Orléans family’s movements to Saint-Cloud and Villers-Cotterêts, and drew daily their portraits and those of their guests, which he gathered in albums, sometimes making replicas when asked by models. He created a portrait of the Duchesse de Chartres in 1770, now at Chantilly with several hundred drawings bought by the Duc d’Aumale where she is shown, not as a nun, but sitting on a sofa, a book in one hand and flowers in the other.
To entertain this society, he also wrote little plays, interpreted by guests who turned into amateur actors; these little comedies often ended with a proverb, from which they take their name. However we do not know in which proverb the Duchesse de Chartres played the role of a nun. The comprehensive list of Carmontelle’s proverbs and comedies published by Laurence Chatel de Brancion in Carmontelle au jardin des illusions (Monelle Hayot, 2003, p. 233-235) does not provide any title requiring such a part. As for dating, it is necessarily later than 1769, the year in which the Duc d’Orléans acquired the Château du Raincy, and before 1785, when the Duc de Chartres inherited the title of Duc d’Orléans. The inscriptions on the drawing’s verso (perhaps a signature?) and on the backing card use the spelling “Carmontel” which is the one found in the catalogue of the artist’s posthumous sale (17 April 1807) and in Madame de Genlis’s writings, whether her Mémoires published in 1825 or the note accompanying the publication, also in 1825, of the Proverbes et Comédies posthumes de Carmontel. Laurence Chatel de Brancion has drawn up a list of the painted works of Carmontelle (op. cit., p. 222-231) and mentions (p. 231) an article in the art supplement to the New York Herald Tribune of 5 July 1908 “The Duchesse de Chartres as a nun”, which we have not been able to obtain.
Robert Keil, Heinrich Friedrich Füger, Vienna, 2009, under no WV 215, p. 266
After initially studying in Stuttgart with Nicolas Guibal from Lorraine, Füger entered the University of Halle in 1768 to study law, which he abandoned after two years to return to an artistic career, again under the guidance of Guibal, and also of Friedrich Oeser in Leipzig. He became known as a painter of miniature portraits and the Vienna court granted him funding to study in Rome in 1774. There, he concentrated on history painting under the supervision of Raphaël Mengs from 1776 to 1781 and lived in Naples from 1781 to 1783, where he worked on the decoration of the library of the royal palace of Caserta. He returned to Vienna in 1783 where he had a successful career as a portrait painter, and two years later was appointed director of the Academy, then in 1805 he became director of the Imperial gallery.
Our drawing relates to a lost painting, which is known from a print, created in 1789 for the Viennese Doctor Hunczowsky (Robert Keil, op. cit., no WV 214, p. 266), for which another compositional study is known (Robert Keil, op. cit., no WV 215, p. 266). These three versions bear major variants. A study of the head of Alexander is also known (Robert Keil, op. cit., no WV 216, p. 266). This painting had a pendant, Antiochus and Stratonice (Robert Keil, op. cit., no WV 217, p. 266), another ancient story where the doctor plays a major role.
Michel-Ange Bernard Fort, Paris (the artist’s son)
“La Bretagne”, Musée municipal d’histoire et d’art, Saint-Denis, 1961, no 15
The date inscribed on this drawing suggests a connection with the painting made in September of 1888 (on his return from celebrations in honor of the patron saint at the church of Saint-Joseph of Pont-Aven), The Breton Women in a Green Pasture, also known as The Pardon, in a private collection (see Jean-Jacques Luthi and Armand Israël, Émile Bernard. Instigateur de l’école de Pont-Aven, précurseur de l’art moderne. Sa vie, son œuvre, catalogue raisonné, Éditions des Catalogues Raisonnés, Paris, 2014, no 115), considered to be one of the most important and characteristic works by the young artist. Gauguin was not wrong about it, he brought this painting to Arles in October 1888, where Van Gogh made a copy in watercolour (“it was so original that I wanted to have a copy of it”, he wrote to his sister on 8 or 9 December 1889). It is clear that this same figure is found in a later work, Breton Woman Entering a Church of 1892 (Luthi and Israël, op. cit., no 304, who noted: “À son retour en Bretagne durant l’été de 1892, Émile Bernard retrouva la même inspiration qu’en 1888” [on his return to Brittany during the summer of 1892, Émile Bernard found the same inspiration as in 1888]). Should we think the artist used a study that was already old or that he dated this drawing a posteriori, being mistaken (but the writing is coherent with other works dated 1888)?
After initial training in his home city, Jean Lambert-Rucki travelled to Paris in 1911, attracted by the artistic vitality of Montparnasse. There he found his compatriot and friend Moïse Kisling. The work of Amadeo Modigliani and also Cubism, Egyptian and African art had a major influence on his early career, in addition to Byzantine art discovered in Salonica during the war. He exhibited with Léonce Rosenberg (in his gallery L’Effort Moderne), with the artists of the Section d’Or and collaborated with Jean Dunand for the creation of lacquer panels and screens. In 1931, he joined the Union des Artistes Modernes with which he was involved in the construction of the basilica of Notre-Dame-des-Trois-Ave in Blois by the architect Paul Rouvière, the building work, interrupted by the war, was completed in 1948. Afterwards, the artist participated in several religious projects, in France and abroad.
From 26 January to 13 February 1943 there was an exhibition of his works at the Galerie Drouant-David à Paris (52, rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré) in which several drawings entitled L’Épouvantail [The Scarecrow] were included, without any more details. This theme was depicted by the artist in a wide range of techniques. The sheet presented here fits perfectly into this theme, although we cannot confirm its presence in that exhibition.