Baldassare Franceschini VOLTERRANO (Volterra 1611 - Florence 1690)

Devils Dragging Damned Souls into Hell Sold

Black chalk, with touches of red chalk. A horizontal dividing line and oval framing lines drawn in black chalk, and the sheet trimmed to an oval.
The verso rubbed with red chalk.
Inscribed (by Giuseppe Santini) Mano di Baldassar Franceschini / detto il Volterrano at the lower left.
256 x 370 mm. (10 1/8 x 14 1/2 in.) at greatest dimensions.


This powerful sheet, which appears to be unrelated to any surviving painting or fresco by the artist, is a splendid example of Volterrano’s bold and vigorous draughtsmanship.

The inscription at the lower left of the sheet is in the hand of the collector recently identified as the 17th century military engineer and amateur landscape draughtsman Giuseppe Santini. A native of Pisa and a pupil of the sculptor Ferdinando Tacca, Santini was also a disciple of Stefano della Bella. As a draughtsman, he produced a number of landscape and genre drawings in pen in the manner of Ercole Bazzicaluva and Giulio Parigi. Santini also seems to have been an avid collector of the drawings of his Florentine contemporaries, and in particular those of Volterrano, each of which he inscribed with his distinctive handwriting before pasting them into an album. One such album, containing around thirty red chalk drawings by Volterrano and bearing similar inscriptions, is in the Fondazione Roberto Longhi in Florence, while other individual Volterrano drawings from Santini’s collection are in museum collections or have occasionally appeared on the art market.

Giuseppe Santini, Florence, with his inscription at the lower left of the sheet
Anonymous sale, London, Christie’s, 9 April 1990, lot 29.

Marta Privitera, ‘Disegno del Volterrano per i dipinti di Ferdinando Ridolfi’, Paragone, September-November 2000, p.85, note 65, pl.78; London and New York, Jean-Luc Baroni Ltd., Master Drawings and Oil Sketches, 2005, under no.17.

Baldassare Franceschini VOLTERRANO

Devils Dragging Damned Souls into Hell


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