Giovanni Battista Foggini
Florence 1652-1725
Studies for a Candle Holder, a Caryatid, and Tullia Driving her Chariot(recto) and Study for a Faade (verso), circa 1723

PROVENANCE: Giovanni Morelli (1816-1891) (Frits Lugt 1902); Luca Beltrami (1854-1933), Milan; Sotheby's London, 9 July 1973, lot 73 or 74 (as by Johann Paul Schor); Private UK collection.

Inscribed in pen and brown ink on the recto, with extract from Iconologia of Cesare Ripa (Padua, 1611), Giorno: giovane/ alato con un cer./ chio in mano e nel/ [la]ltra una face/ Notte: coronata di/ [pa]paveri con due/ [a]li alle spalle/ Piet con la mano/ [che] tenga perpendicolo, numbered at the upper right, in brown ink, 37, black chalk, pen and brown ink

Born in Florence, the young Foggini was sent to Rome by the Medici Grand Duke of Tuscany to join the so-called Accademia Fiorentina, and Foggini was apprenticed in the Roman studio of Ercole Ferrata, a pupil of Algardi. He was also tutored in drawing by the Accademia’s first director (16731686), Ciro Ferri, who was a pupil of Cortona. Returning to Florence in 1676, he became the court sculptor for Cosimo III. After the son of Pietro Tacca, Fernando, died in 1686, the mantle of the premier local sculptor fell to Foggini, who would become the Medici’s Architetto Primario e Primo scultore della Casa Serenissima as well as Soprintendente dei Lavori (16871725). In 1687, Foggini acquired the foundry in Borgo Pinti that had once belonged to the sculptor Giambologna. This allowed him to specialize in small bronzes, produced mainly and profitably for export. His adaptation of Pietro Tacca’s Moors was the basis of bronze and ceramic reproductions for the connossieur market well into the 18th century.

Our drawing comes from a sketchbook that has been recently re-constructed by Kira DAlburquerque, and identifies about 20 sheets, most are double-sided, like ours, totalling 40 individual drawings by Foggini. The sketchbook was probably drawn when Foggini was in his seventies, indeed a contemporary of Foggini, Francesco Saverio Baldinucci (1662-1738) noted that having reached the age of more than seventy yearshe was still so much occupied making numerous drawings of statues, bas-reliefs, constructions, and decorative ornaments of all sorts with his skill, that he assembled a very full book (pieno libero)

Most of these drawings are now in Museums, including the Metropolitan Museum, New York, the Victoria and Albert Museum, London and the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam and the album was probably dismembered by 1887. Our drawing was first published in 1916 as by Juste Aurle Meissonnier (1695-1750). Lucia Monaci studied and republished he group as by Foggini in 1974. Monaci has suggested that our drawing is for silver ware and studies for buildings studi per architetture e per artgenterie.

The sketchbook contains drawings for a wide variety of projects, including figures, catafalques, funerary monuments, theatre sets, furniture and decorative arts, chapels and ornamental doorways. None of these projects were completed, due to the artists death 2 years later. Our drawing is stylistically characteristic of the artist and can be compared to others on the market. Indeed another drawing from Sketchbook B was in the collection of Ralph Holland and recently on the market.1

Our drawing was once in the collection of Morelli who was born in Verona and died in Milan he was an important art historian in the nineteenth century.

The attribution has also been kindly confirmed by Dr Jennifer Montagu and Kira DAlburquerque, who have assisted in the cataloguing of this beautiful drawing.2

1.Lucia Monaci, op.cit., p.58, and Sotheby’s New York, 27 January 2010, and Galleria Portatile, The Ralph Holland Collection, London, 5 July 2013, lot 291.

2.Written communication 10 January 2013 and 12 February 2013.