Giovanni Antonio Guardi (Venice 1699-1760)
An angel holding a palm
black and white chalk on blue paper
10 ¾ x 15 ½ in. (27.4 x 39.4 cm)

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Jonathan den Otter
Jonathan den Otter

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Lot Essay

This dynamic study is a new addition to the limited corpus of drawings by Antonio Guardi, here effectively using a rare combination of black and white chalk. Executed with what Morassi vividly described as 'rapid and abruptly interrupted lines, like hit by an electric shock' (Guardi. Tutti i disegni di Antonio, Francesco e Giacomo, Venice, 1975, p. 13), the present sheet can be compared to a core group of chalk studies, all dating to the early phase of the artist’s career to circa 1720 (op. cit., nos. 1, 2, 34, ill.). A similar angel, holding the palm of martyrdom, appears in The Death of Saint Clement at The Morgan Library and Museum (inv. 1977.1), an early copy by Antonio after a lost picture by Giovanni Battista Pittoni (J. Scholz in Drawings from New York Collections, III, The Eighteenth Century in Italy, New York, 1971, no. 167, ill.).
We are grateful to Andrew Robison for suggesting the attribution to Antonio Guardi on the basis of digital photographs.

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