Jean-Robert Ango
?fl. 1759-70-died circa 1773
St. Paul, after Pierre-Etienne Monnot

PROVENANCE: Private UK Collector.

Red chalk

218 x 140 mm. (8 1/2 x 5 1/2 in.)

A characteristic drawing by this enigmatic artist. Ango has only recently come to light as an artistic personality, though in the past his drawings were was sometimes confused with those by Hubert Robert. Ango is known to have travelled with Jean-Honor Fragonard and Abb de Saint-Non from Paris to Rome in 1761. It is likely that this drawing is a copy after a sculpture, possibly made on one of the same sketching tours as Fragonard. This drawing has remained with a small collection of others drawings and counterproofs drawn by Fragonard on this trip.

Most of the biographical information about Ango comes from the writings of his friend, the painter Jean-Antoine Julien, who established in his autobiography that Ango was already in Rome in November 1760. He also described Ango as a painter, although only drawings by him survive. In 1772, in correspondence with the Belgian painter Andries Cornelis Lens, Julien referred to an attack of apoplexy that had left Ango half-paralyzed and reduced to living on charity. Julien's last mention of him is on 16 January 1773. Dated drawings known to be by Ango are from the period 1759-70. Most of the surviving drawings are of paintings and decoration in Roman churches and palaces, but some attest to a knowledge of Naples, and it is recorded that on 18 March 1761 Ango and Jean-Honor Fragonard were given permission to draw copies of the paintings in the gallery of Capodimonte there. Many of Ango's drawings are copies after Old Masters, some are after his contemporaries Fragonard and Hubert Robert, and in a number of instances he reworked counterproofs of drawings by Robert, after the original drawing by Robert. Ango also recorded in drawings the paintings in the collection of Bailli de Breteuil, ambassador of the Order of Malta to the Holy See from 1758 to 1780, but he is best known for the 27 etchings and aquatints after his drawings engraved by the Abb de Saint-Non for his Recueil de griffonnis, de vues, paysages, fragments antiques et sujets historiques (Paris, 1755-78), all of them copies of paintings located in Rome.

Our drawing is after Pierre-Etienne Monnot's marble statue of "St. Paul" in S. Giovanni in Laterano in Rome. With thanks to Jennifer Montagu for identifying this.