- Museum number
Dedicatory inscription of album by Giuseppe Ghezzi addressed to 'Dilettante della Pittura'
Pen and brown ink
- Production date
Height: 404 millimetres
Width: 258 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Watermark: encircled device.
See 1859,0806.91 for comment and description of album.
This is a preface to an untraced album of drawings once belonging to Giuseppe Ghezzi. Like the previous sheet, it is by the hand of the latter and it is a sort of briefing for the dilettante in the art of painting (Ragguaglio al provetto dilettante). Ghezzi tells the reader that at the beginning of the album he will find drawings that Mantegna made when he was in Rome working for Innocent VIII. According to Ghezzi, the artist had found time to explore the treasures of the ancient city buried underground and had transferred the results of his studies in this album. This was left incomplete as Mantegna made haste return to his homecountry and failed to take it with him. Such neglect, as Ghezzi puts it, resulted in many realising they could possess the album and, after many owners, it ended up belonging to Pierin del Vaga, who added his own drawings on the leaves left blank. These included figured vases, candelabra and other models for silversmiths. Also various figures, animals and foliage that from then on would be called 'grottesche', from the area of the Palace of Titus that had been excavated under Leo X. As Pierino wanted to copy these images he made many drawings of them in this album; among his companions and followers, Morto da Feltre, Lorenzino da Bologna, Marco da Faenza and Giovanni da Udine, the latter used these drawings in the Vatican Logge, in the Vatican Palace and other places. He also drew very beautiful reliefs and statues with such high craftsmanship that their singularity cannot be refuted. As the last owner of the album decided to part from this album, Ghezzi is jubilant about his own acquisition. He states to have reduced the size of the album as its pages had been devoured by time and in order to preserve it for eternity he glued the drawings himself, so that it would be in good condition by the time the album was going to be owned by his son, Pietro Leone Ghezzi, who had the same genius in the Arts and would surely treasure it the same way his father was doing. Giuseppe continues stating that he implemented the album by adding more drawings of similarly illustrious artists and that the reader will find their names accordingly. Further he encourages the reader to take advantage of this precious tool, but he warns him that if he intends to imitate the work of these masters, he better do it under the guidance of Guarini who, in order to teach the dilettante the true path to perfection in art, will first show him these sheets and then say:
This is the surest road /
To climb to virtue's bright abode /
For at her palace gate /
Great toils and mighty labours wait
(from an anonymous [William Chaperton?] translation 'The Faithful Shepherd', Edinburgh-London 1809, p. 156).
As observed by Simonetta Proseri Valenti, not only this album is dispersed, but one also has to take into account the fact that not necessarily its drawings were by the artists claimed by Ghezzi.
Lit.: S. Prosperi Valenti Rodinò, 'Giuseppe Ghezzi collezionista di disegni', in 'Sebastiano e Giuseppe Ghezzi, protagonisti del Barocco', 1999, pp.110-11.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number