Baroque pages from Maurizio Nobile collection

curated by Marco Riccòmini

Sismondo Castle piazza Malatesta, April 28th – July 15th 2018

Baroque pages, from Bologna, from Guercino to Giani from Faenza, from the middle of the 17th century to the end of the 18th century; that is, from Baroque to Neoclassicism. Sketch papers and hand exercises, made for famous pieces or straight from classrooms. It’s what was recommended in Bologna at the time to the teachers of nude art, then in the Clementina Academy, and even in the Zanotti, who wrote the history of those schools: «the adjustment of the drawing, and treating it with elegance, and frankness, is mainly what a youth must study» is a repeated phrase, in the pages of his Storia dell’ Accademia Clementina (1739). From Carracci onwards, since their first Academy, once called the Incamminati, the practice of drawing became the prime foundation of every artistic discipline in Bologna. From those first years we can see a faithful study of the pen in a gaunt Saint Jerome in the desert, by Guercino.

The most famous names of the 17th century followed suit throughout all the 18th century, from Donato Creti (with a mysterious Sibilla, that whirls a globe upon her fingertips) to the suite of four mythological fables made in charcoal by Gaetano Gandolfi (Mercurio e Argo, Ratto di Dejanira, the story of Europa, and then Venere che scopre il corpo di Adone), prepared in a series of erudite octagonal canvases. Since the Zanotti admonished the youths about how even the masters of the past needed to add some work that was true to life, that explains the presence of a great nude in red pencil by Ubaldo Gandolfi in this group, from the halls of the Clementina. Closing out the series is the colourful Danza delle Ore by Felice Giani, from Piedmont and subsequently Bologna, who studied or memorized the vault of the elliptical astronomy room in the Laderchi palace in Faenza, which was commissioned in 1796 for count Achille, when the Napoleonic troops were about to enter Romagna.