• Brian Sewell - Critic & Collec auction at Christies

    Sale 13731

    Brian Sewell - Critic & Collector

    27 September 2016, London, King Street

  • Lot 13

    Agostino Ciampelli (Florence 1565-1630 Rome)

    A soldier carrying a ladder, and a subsidiary study of a man holding a torch (recto); Faint fragmentary study (verso)

    Price Realised  

    Agostino Ciampelli (Florence 1565-1630 Rome)
    A soldier carrying a ladder, and a subsidiary study of a man holding a torch (recto); Faint fragmentary study (verso)
    with inscription 'Carache.'
    black chalk heightened with white on blue paper, squared in black chalk, watermark horse in a circle, unframed
    15 7/8 x 10½ in. (40.3 x 26.7 cm.)


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    A study for The Duke of Guise attacking Calais in 1558, a painting which was set in an arch that was part of the outdoor decorations for the wedding of Grand Duke Ferdinando I de' Medici (1549-1609) and Christine de Lorraine (1565-1637). This took place in Florence in 1589. According to Filippo Baldinucci (1624-1697) the painting for the arch was stored after the wedding in the Pitti Palace but was later destroyed by a fire (F. Baldinucci, Notizie dei professori del disegno da Cimabue in qua, 1681, [Florence, edition 1845], in the life of Pagani, 3:40). The appearance of the painting is known, however, through two prints published in 1589. It was etched by Raffaello Gualterotti (1543-1638) who described the individual paintings and sculptures assembled for the wedding in great detail (Fig. 1; R. Gualterotti, Descrizione del regale apparato per le nozze della serenissima Madama Cristina di Loreno, moglie del serenissimo don Ferdinando Medici, III. granduca di Toscana, Florence, 1589, p. 97-9). The arches and the decorations for the festivities, rather than the individual works, were published in a series of engravings by Orazio Scarabelli (fl. circa 1589) (Fig. 2; British Museum, Inv. 1897,0113.39). The painting of The Duke of Guise attacking Calais in 1558 is shown in situ in the third entry arch in the Canto dei Carnesecchi.

    The technique of this drawing, one of Ciampelli's most accomplished and striking sheets, is characteristic in its use of black chalk heightened with white on blue paper. A large group of drawings by the artist, mostly in the same technique, is in Muzeum umenì, Olomouc (M. Togner, Agostino Ciampelli: 1565-1630: Disegni, Olomouc, 2000, nos. A 1-38, ill.). This drawing may especially be compared to two drawings of men on ladders which are studies for the Crucifixion of Saint Andrew in the Gesù, Rome (M. Togner, op. cit., nos. A12 and A13, ill.).

    We are very grateful to Dr. Julian Brooks for identifying the authorship of this drawing and for his assistance in cataloguing it.

    Fig. 1. Raffaello Gualterotti, Descrizione del [...] granduca di Toscana, etching, 1589.
    Fig. 2. Orazio Scarabelli, The third entry arch for the Medici wedding, the canto dei Carnesecchi, engraving, 1589. © The Trustees of the British Museum, London