Domenico Maria FRATTA

Bologna 1696 - Bologna 1763


A pupil of Domenico Maria Viani and Carlo Rambaldi, Domenico Fratta seems to have little or no success as a painter, and is best known as a draughtsman and printmaker. In this he was particularly indebted to Creti, whom he would have met at the Casa Fava in Bologna, and who was to have a profound influence on his draughtsmanship. Fratta produced a large number of reproductive drawings and engravings after the work of earlier Bolognese painters, and contributed illustrations for Giampietro Zanotti’s Storia dell’Accademia Clementina, published in 1739. In later years he developed problems with his eyesight that made it difficult for him to continue working as an engraver, and instead provided finished drawings as models for other printmakers.

As a draughtsman, Fratta worked mainly in pen, with a manner indebted to that of his teacher and mentor Creti; indeed, drawings by him are often confused with those of the elder artist. Fratta also produced a number of highly finished pen drawings, including several landscapes, which were in all likelihood intended as autonomous works of art for sale.