- Museum number
Caricature of the dwarf Giovan Battista Mamo playing boules with a servant, standing in a garden, in profile; drawing from an album.
Pen and brown ink over black chalk
- Production date
- 1752 (16 August)
Height: 317 millimetres (sheet)
Width: 224 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- See 1859,0806.91 for comment and description of album.
In the inscription Ghezzi states that the figure on the left is the dwarf of Cardinal Valenti Gonzaga, Secretary of State and Chamberlain during the pontificate of Benedict XIV. The dwarf is called Giovan Battista Mamo, from Malta and fourteen years old. He is 3 palms tall (one 'canna') and very well proportioned; of very good witts and wise. Ghezzi continues saying he saw him playing 'bocce' (bowls) in the cardinal's garden at Montecavallo in the company of a servant of His Eminence. Ghezzi signs in his usual way and adds he was 78 years old.
Giambattista Mamo, court dwarf of Cardinal Valenti Gonzaga, is believed to be also included in Giovanni Paolo Pannini's 'Gallery of Cardinal Silvio Valenti Gonzaga' as a figure of minute proportions (1749; Wadsworth Atheneum - Hartford, CT).
It is curious that Ghezzi, who is normally ready to openly expose his sitters in his inscriptions, in this instance does not make a single mention of the very prominent protuberance on Mamo's forehead, on the contrary he stresses that the dwarf is of very good proportions. His height is indicated as 3 palms, or 'canna', another unity of measurement. Monte Cavallo is the hill in Rome were the pope's residence of the Palazzo del Quirinale is found, and where the cardinal took residence as the pontiff's Secretary of State.
Another full-length caricature of the same figure, alone, is found in New York, Pierpont Morgan Library, inv. 1978.27, f. 50r., with the following inscription: "Il Nano del Card.[ina]l Valenti".
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number