Giovanni Andrea PODESTA (Genoa 1608 - Genoa or Rome 1674)

Landscape with a Bacchanal of Putti and a Goat Sold

Pen and brown ink, with framing lines in brown ink at the top and bottom edges.
217 x 273 mm. (8 1/2 x 10 3/4 in.)


Almost all of Giovanni Andrea Podestà’s prints, as well as his few surviving drawings, depict landscapes filled with frolicking putti, inspired by the bacchanals of both Titian and Poussin. Stylistically comparable drawings by Podestà of bacchanals are in the Louvre, the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Rennes and the National Galleries of Scotland in Edinburgh. A pen drawing of a related subject, with putti playing with a goat, is at Chatsworth, while similar putti or amorini are also found in many of Podestà’s etchings, some of which are derived from the paintings of Titian. In respect of this particular interest in putti, Podestà’s work is paralleled in that of some of his contemporaries in Rome, including not only Poussin, but also François Duquesnoy and Pietro Testa, to whom the present sheet was once attributed.

As is evident in the present sheet, Podestà’s work can often be of considerable charm, a feature sometimes lacking in the work of his more illustrious contemporaries. As one scholar has noted, ‘Although Podestà was neither a great designer nor a great draughtsman, his amusing conceits display the lighter side of the often sober classical devotees in Rome in the 1630s and 1640s.’

Sir Anthony Blunt, London
By inheritance to John Gaskin, London
His posthumous sale, Christie’s, London, 18 April 1989, lot 75.

Patrick Ramade, ed., Disegno: Les dessins italiens du Musée de Rennes, exhibition catalogue, Modena and Rennes, 1990, p.178, under no.83 (entry by Mary Newcome).

Giovanni Andrea PODESTA

Landscape with a Bacchanal of Putti and a Goat


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