Pen and brown ink and brown wash, watercolour heightened with white, on two joined sheets
278 x 410 mm. (10 7/8 x 16 1/8 in.)
Zuccarellis first teacher in Florence was the Roman landscapist Paolo Anesi. According to his biographer, Francesco Maria Tasi, when Zuccarelli moved to Rome in 1713-4 he was taught history painting by the Tuscans Giovanni Maria Mornadi and Pietro Nelli. In Rome Zuccarelli studied the landscapes of Claude Gelle and the contemporary painters Andrea Locatelli and Jan Frans van Bloemen. Zuccarellis first commission was for two altarpieces for his native town of Pitigliano in 1724. After only four years in Florence he moved to Venice, where he entered the studio of Sebastiano Ricci. From this time he mainly painted landscapes. In Venice his career grew rapidly working for the most famous collectors such as Marshal Schulenburg, Anton Maria Zanetti and Giambattista Albrizzi. His main patron was Consul Smith (1682-1770) who in 1752 persuaded him to move and to follow Canalettos example and move to London. Zuccarelli stayed in London for 15 years, with a break of 3 years, and painted many landscapes for collectors. Amongst them was the famous collector of drawings John Barnard (d.1784).
Zuccarellis drawings were rarely intended as studies for paintings and were highly prized. Our drawing is a characteristic drawing by the artist and can be compared stylistically to other coloured landscape drawings recently on the market, such A Landscape with Peasants and Castle near a Village from the collection of P. en N. de Boer1, and A Landscape with Peasants and Cattle and Sheep beside a River.2 It is interesting to note that Zuccarelli often signed his drawings with a gourd in the foreground, like our drawing in the left foreground, and the one from the de Boer collection. The gourd was a pun on Zuccarellis name, gourd translates as zucca3 in Italian.
1.Old Master Drawings from the Stichting Collectie P. en N. de Boer, Christies London, 4 July 1995, lot 75.
2.Crispian Riley-Smith, Master Drawings, 16th to 20th Centuries, number 13, 2011.
3.I would like to thank Nol Annesley and Huon Mallalieu for pointing this out. Other drawings where Zuccarelli uses this signature are, The Collections of the Detroit Institute of Arts, Italian, French, English and Spanish Drawings and Watercolours, Sixteenth through eighteenth centuries, Hudson Hill Press, New York, 1992, no.68, p.137 and T. Pignatti, Disegni venetia del Settecento nel Muso Correr di Venezia, 1964, Venezia, no. 69.