Paragone Arte 97

Anno LXII – Terza serie – Numero 97 (735) Maggio 2011

Anna Forlani Tempesti: Stefano della Bella fra scienza e caricatura 
Alessandro Grassi: Per l´ultimo Volterrana
Minna HeimbürgerUn reliquiario d’argento e la fortuna di François du Quesnoy


La ‘Giuditta con la fantesca’ su rame di Carlo Saraceni (Gianni Papi)
Presentazione di Annibale Tegliacci e due inediti del Seicento senese (Marco Ciampolini)


Intorno alle ‘Burle’ del Pievano Arlotto (Fabio Sottili)


Among the hundreds of autograph drawings attributed to Stefano della Bella in Florence´s Biblioteca Marucelliana, bequeathed by Francesco di Ruberto Marucelli in 1783, are three curious red chalk studies of a praying mantis — viewed from the front, back and left side, respectively, and set within an original oval outline, also in red chalk — whose purpose remains unknown. While the traditional attribution to Stefano was overlooked until now, given the rarity of technique and subject within his graphic oeuvre, the artist´s authorship is here reconsidered in light of his connections with the scientific culture of his time, characterized as always by a sensitivity to nature but often, too, by a subtle penchant for caricature, and also bearing in mind his many recently-studied red chalk drawings in the collection of the Kunsthalle, Hamburg. A fourth sheet, also in the Marucelliana, and with the same provenance and attributional history, is added to the three published here: a black chalk drawing of a bird wearing large glasses on its beak, probably a caricature of Ippolito Francini, known as “Tordo occhialaio”, a celebrated maker of lenses and spyglasses in the Florence of the Accademia del Cimento.

This essay discusses the last years of Volterrano, using early sources and archival documents to cast light on certain aspects of three altarpieces commissioned by Cosimo III de´ Medici but omitted in the artist´s biography by Baldinucci, namely the dates of the paintings for the convents of the Castellina and the Ambrogiana, and the subject of another picture for the lazzaretto in Livorno. Reconsidering Medici patronage during this period, apart from the recently rediscovered Saint Luke, the author presents an unpublished Saint Victoria painted for the Grand Duchess Vittoria della Rovere, and proposes that a Virgin of Sorrows was the pendant of the Ecce Homo painted for the Grand Prince Ferdinando, who collected other pictures from Volterrano´s late period, studied here for their stylistic evolution and relation to surviving drawings.

The unpublished reliquary bust of Saint Anatolia now housed in the church of Santa Maria Assunta in Gerano bears two marks that enable it to be dated to 1742 and attributed to Bartolomeo Boroni (1703-1787), a successful silversmith active in Rome. As he did on other occasions, it appears the artist here made use of a model by the sculptor François du Quesnoy (1597-1643). The base of the reliquary in gilt copper was probably made in 1787 to contain a second relic acquired in that year by the church of Santa Anatolia in Gerano, to which the bust of the saint originally belonged.

The author has discovered the autograph oil on copper of Carlo Saraceni´s Judith and her Maidservant, which depends compositionally on the painting of the same subject by Lorenzo Lotto now in the collection of the Banca Nazionale del Lavoro. Two versions of the composition regarded as workshop copies (Verona, Museo di Castelvecchio; Dresden, Gemäldegalerie) have been known for some time.

An unfortunate circumstance — the failed receipt by Baldinucci of information on the Sienese painters of the mid-Seicento — lies behind the scarce attention paid to the Sienese Baroque school by early art-historical sources. This gap was filled in part during the nineteenth century by Ettore Romagnoli, whose extensive sweep of the archives enabled him to reconstruct the biographies of numerous Seicento artists from Siena. However, the challenge of associating extant works with these recovered figures occasionally led to confusion. Modern scholarship has patiently resolved certain misunderstandings, but much remains to be done. Until now no one had noticed the inconsistency between the Angelo Tegliacci listed by Romagnoli and the Annibale Tegliacci recorded in early sources, which led to oblivion for an interesting figure who worked in Siena during the 1620s and 1630s in a style anticipating the art of Bernardino Mei, the protagonist of Sienese Baroque painting.

This article seeks to cast light on the canvases illustrating the facetious tales of the Pievano Arlotto, a character from the Florentine Quattrocento who became legendary for his witticisms, which inspired a series of paintings during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Documents owned by the Sansedoni family of Siena have led to the discovery of a group of nine canvases that were housed in 1773 in Giovanni Sansedoni´s villa at Basciano, near Monteriggioni, and painted by Giovanni Domenico Ferretti as copies of the originals by Volterrano (at least four), as well as a portrait of the priest himself. Before 1751 some of these adorned the Florentine residence of his uncle the balìo Orazio. The known paintings and drawings by Volterrano only depict three episodes, to which may be added two others by Giovanni da San Giovanni, and a further four that lack precise attributions. Giovanni´s Burla dei cacciatori of 1751 was subsequently used for a version in inlaid stone manufactured by Ginori and based on the very copy owned by the Cavaliere Giovanni Sansedoni.

Paragone Arte 98-99
Paragone Arte 96