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Property from a New York Collection

The Fall of Constantinople, after Domenico Tintoretto

The Fall of Constantinople, after Domenico Tintoretto
with inscription ‘Sebastiano Ricci’ (lower right, erased) and ‘9-Ricci- Battle scene’ (verso)
black chalk, pen and brown ink, brown wash, on two sheets of paper glued together, watermark coat of arms
20 x 30 ¼ in. (51.5 x 76.5 cm)
Morosini-Gattenburg collection, Venice.
Benno Geiger (1882-1965), Vienna and Venice; Weinmüller, Munich, 14 October 1938, lot 339, ill. (as Francesco Guardi).
Nathalie and Hugo Weisgall, New York.
A. Morassi, Guardi. Tutti i disegni, IV, I Fasti di Venezia, Venice, 1975, no. 110, fig. 112.
Sacramento, E. B. Crocker Art Gallery, The Collecting Muse. A Selection from the Nathalie and Hugo Weisgall Collection, 1975, no. 23, ill.

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Lot Essay

This impressive sheet is part of a series of at least fifty-eight similar drawings by Antonio Guardi for which Giuseppe Fiocco devised the title Fasti veneziani (G. Fiocco, ‘I Fasti veneziani dei pittori Guardi’, Le Tre Venezie, July-December, 1944, pp. 9-15). The drawings are all executed in the same technique and scale and they were mounted in albums once in the Morosini- Gattenburg collection in Venice. By the middle of the 20th Century individual sheets were sold separately and are now scattered in various collections in Europe and in the United States (Morassi, op. cit., pp. 31-37, and nos. 61-106, ill.). A large group of thirty-seven drawings are still together in Venice in the Fondazione Giorgio Cini (P. Delorenzi, in Capolavori ritrovati della collezione di Vittorio Cini, exhib. cat., Venice, Fondazione Girgio Cini, 2016, no. 29, ill.).

Fiocco named the series Fasti veneziani as the drawings depict episodes from the history of Venice, from its mythical origins up to the middle of the 17th Century. Most of the subjects are copied from the 16th and 17th Century paintings that decorate the Ducal Palace in Venice. The composition in the present sheet derives from Jacopo Tintoretto’s painting of the Fall (or Second Capture) of Constantinople in the Sala del Gran Consiglio (fig. 1). Guardi was a successful painter who spent great part of his career at the service of Matthias von der Schulenburg (1661-1747), a German military commander. The artist worked not only on original compositions, but also often produced replicas of famous works by other artists (see W. L. Barcham, ‘The Issue of Copies. Three drawing by Gianantonio Guardi in New York’, Artibus et Historiae, XLII, no. 83, 2021, pp. 1-21). It is not known with certainty who was the patron of this series, yet Morassi suggested that probably a member of the Morosini family, who originally owned the group, commissioned it to celebrate members of the family who included admirals and condottieri of the Serenissima (Morassi, op. cit., p. 35). In the present drawing, and in the others of the series, Antonio Guardi reinterpreted with originality the masterpieces of his predecessors by imbuing them with his own modern and spirited style.

Fig. 1. Jacopo Tintoretto, The Fall (or second capture) of Constantinople. Sala del Gran Consiglio, Ducal Palace, Venice.

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