Black chalk, blue wash and brush, heightened with white on blue paper, verso sketch of figures in black chalk
182 x 245 mm (7 1/8 x 9 5/8 in.)
Private collection, UK.
Belisario was of Greek origins and became the leading fresco painter in Naples during the late 16th and early 17th centuries, working in the churches of Santa Maria la Nova, the Gesu Nuovo, SS. Severino e Sassio and elsewhere, as well as in the Palazzo Reale. His distinctive style with blue washes, and often on blue paper, is characteristic. According to Padre Resta he lived to a great age nearly one hundred years. According to Corenzios biographer, De Dominici, he began his career in Venice in the studio of Jacopo Tintoretto, however Vitzthum convincingly showed the importance of Tuscan drawing on Corenzios style of 1570s. Marianne Joannides has described his style succinctly,
Around 1600, perhaps to enrich the severity of forms, he adopts a painterly drawing style, with thick contours boldly brushed in and rather solid forms evoked from liberally applied striations of white heightening and distinctive blue washes.1
Our drawing is comparable to many of his drawings including The Adoration of the Lamb in the De Pass collection in Truro, and The Siege of a City on the art market in 1995.2
The attribution of the drawing has been confirmed by Dott. Farina, on first hand inspection [7 July 2014], and said that the top angel could be inspired by a fresco series that Cav. darpino completed in the Church of San Martino in Naples.
1.M. Joannides, 'Exhibition catalogue of Master Drawings from the De Pass Collection', Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro, 1994, no. 17, 2 August-31 October 1994, London, Phillips and Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro.
2.Colnaghi, London, 1995, number 13.