Pietro Faccini
Bologna circa 1562-Bologna 1602
A Group of Figures in Adoration

PROVENANCE: Jonathan Richardson Senior (1665-1745) (Frits Lugt 2184); Anonymous sale, Christies South Kensington, 12 December 1996, lot 31; Professor Raymond E. Pahl, FBA (1935-2011).

With inscription pietro fasino 132 in pen and brown ink and P. Faccini in pencil in the lower margin

Pen and brown ink, brown wash

197 x 107 mm. (7 3/4 x 4 1/4 in.)


A characteristic brush drawing by Faccini which has in the past been connected to the figures on the right in the picture of the Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine with Protector Saints of Bologna painted for the Cappela Pellicani in the church of San Francesco1. Aidan Weston-Lewis connects our drawing to the Last Communion of Saint Jerome, another brush drawing in the Louvre2. Posner dates this drawing to circa 1593, and it is part of a group of brush drawings in the Louvre3.

We rely mainly on Malvasia for the few facts concerning Faccinis life. When he was already a man Faccini was encouraged by Annibale Carracci to become a painter, and trained under Annibale. Faccini was forced to leave the Carracci academy, setting up on his own in direct competition with his master. His work was admired during his lifetime and he was elected a consigliere of the Compagnia dei pittori in 1599. If Faccini was born circa 1562, the traditional date given for his birth, he would have certainly been considered a man if he entered the Carracci workshop in the mid-1580s. It seems that Faccini began working with the Carracci in the mid-1580s and that the development of his style paralleled theirs in that decade, since he was also influenced by Correggio and Barocci. By 1590 the Correggio-Barocci phase has passed and replaced by an interest in heavier forms and dramatic compositions, based on Venetian examples, and a Venetian trip was highly probable. Faccini worked in many different media throughout his short working life, and in his drawings he seems to be more influenced by Venetian colore than were his Emilian contemporaries.

The attribution has also been confirmed by Nicolas Schwed will include the drawing in the forthcoming catalogue raisonn of Faccini drawings: M. Di Giampaolo, Disegni di Faccini, a cura di Donatella Cingottini e Nicolas Schwed.

1.D. DeGrazia, Correggio and his Legacy, Sixteenth-Century Emilian Drawings, exhibition catalogue, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1984, fig.129a, p.380.

2.Donald Posner, Pietro Faccini and the Carracci: Notes on Some Drawings in the Louvre Paragone, 131 (November 1960), pp.51-57, fig. 37a, verbal communication 4 January 2007. It is interesting to note that the inscription on our drawing appears on a number of Faccini drawings, according to Aidan Weston-Lewis.

3.Donald Posner, op.cit., pp34-8,40-2.

This is catalogue Number 12, in the on-line e-catalogue of 'Drawings, Prints and Paintings from the Collection of Professor Raymond E. Pahl, FBA (1935-2011)', see here for the catalogue.