Ubaldo GANDOLFI (San Matteo della Decima 1728 - Rome 1781)

Jupiter Sold

Pen and brown ink and brown wash, squared in black chalk, with traces of framing lines in brown ink.
Faintly inscribed Gandolfi at the lower left, and inscribed Cartel(?) No.3./bis(?) 133 on the former backing sheet.
192 x 269 mm. (7 1/2 x 10 5/8 in.)


This drawing is a preparatory study, in reverse, for one of Ubaldo Gandolfi's first independent projects, the vault fresco of Jupiter in the Sala dello Zodiaco of the Palazzo Malvasia in Bologna, now part of the University of Bologna. In around 1758 Gandolfi received a commission from the Bolognese nobleman and historian Cesare Malvasia to decorate a number of rooms in his palace, purchased the previous year. The commission called for the decoration of at least four rooms with vault frescoes of Jupiter, Mars, Apollo, and Mercury. Only the frescoes of Jupiter, Mars and Apollo survive today, executed in collaboration with quadraturista Flaminio Minozzi, who was responsible for the architectural elements. The work must have been completed by 1760, when Ubaldo Gandolfi listed the frescoes among his accomplishments in his application for admission into the Accademia Clementina.

Two further related drawings for the fresco of Jupiter are known. The first of these, in the collection of the Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan, depicts an angry Jupiter in the act of hurling his thunderbolts, and must be an early idea for the project. The other drawing, formerly in a private Italian collection, retains much the same composition as the present sheet, although in reverse, and as such is closer to the reclining god depicted in the finished fresco. The present sheet must therefore represent an intermediate stage in the development of the composition.

Sir Robert Mond, London (Lugt 2813a), his mark on the former backing sheet
By descent to W. D. Austin
His sale, London, Christie's, 7 April 1970, lot 87
Anonymous sale, London, Sotheby’s, 18 April 1994, lot 1
P. & D. Colnaghi, London
Private collection.

Tancred Borenius and Rudolf Wittkower, Catalogue of the Collection of Drawings by the Old Masters formed by Sir Robert Mond, London, n.d. (1937), p.61, no.249 (as school of G.B. Tiepolo); Renato Roli, Pittura Bolognese 1650-1800: Dal Cignani ai Gandolfi, Bologna, 1977, p.72, note 37 (incorrectly described as a study for the Palazzo Malvezzi frescoes); Donatella Biagi Maino, Ubaldo Gandolfi, Turin, 1990, p.31, note 15; Fiesole, Palazzo Mangani, Disegni italiani del sei-settecento, exhibition catalogue, 1991, p.52, under no.23 (entry by Maria Cecilia Fabbri); Prisco Bagni, I Gandolfi: affreschi dipinti bozzetti disegni, Bologna, 1992, p.629, under no.603; Bologna, San Giorgio in Poggiale, Disegni emiliani dei secoli XVII-XVIII della Pinacoteca di Brera, exhibition catalogue, 1995, p.206, under no.74 (entry by Prisco Bagni); Florence, Mattia & Maria Novella Romano, A Selection of Master Drawings, 2014, unpaginated, under no.10.




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