Edited by Alessandra Cabella

This important unpublished drawing is undoubtedly by Lorenzo de’ Ferrari. It attests the preciousness of the sign and the mastery of one of the last, great protagonists of the late Genoese Baroque.

The scene is built through a controlled handling, particularly meticulous in the rendering of the statuary volumes and the shadows, with a certain complacency in the description of some of the minor details.

The drawing is connected to De Ferrari’s last known pictorial enterprise, the decoration of the the magniloquent “Galleria d’Oro” of Palazzo Carrega (later Cataldi, now the Chamber of Commerce) in Strada Nuova, completed in 1744, the year of the artist’s death1.

After the pioneering studies of Gavazza2 the consistency and variety of Lorenzo’s graphic oeuvre has progressively reemerged. The last phase of his career is illustrated by various drawings both in private and public collections, starting with the ones in Palazzo Rosso and in the Accademia Ligustica di Belle Arti3.

The study here discussed for the first time is so detailed that it can be considered a work of art of its own right, rather than a simple preparatory sheet. Indeed, the solemn excitement of the figures, the crumped draperies, the crinkled plumage of the helmet transform sheet of paper into a theatrical stage, on which takes place the scene depicting Aeneas carrying the olive branch to Pallas in the very spot where where Rome will rise one day (Virgil, Aeneid VIII, 102-125).

A few pentimenti attest to the artist’s careful elaboration of the composition. Son of Gregorio De Ferrari (1647-1726) and nephew of Paolo Gerolamo Piola (1666-1724), Lorenzo is initially influenced by his father’s graceful style and by that of Piola’s. Afterwards, he gradually dilutes it adhering to the classicist manner of the Bolognese artists Marcantonio Franceschini (1648-1729) and Jacopo Antonio Boni (1688-1766) of Bologna.

After his trip to Rome in 1734, he is also aware of Maratta4. His receptivity to the Roman classicist language, in fact, had been already stimulated by his connection to Paolo Gerolamo Piola, to whom he will succeed after his death in 1724 in the decorative cycle of the Genoese church of Santa Marta5.

The inscription at the bottom left assigns the drawing to the ‘abbot’ Lorenzo de’ Ferrari: the artist, in fact, took the vows as other members of Casa Piola6. The artist’s style and identity permeate the sheet, merging Rococo and Neoclassical echoes in a pleasant composition characterised by a neat, clear and compliant handling.

1 Cristina Bartolini, ‎Gianni Bozzo, ‎Elena Manara, Genova, Pa- lazzo Carrega Cataldi, Genova 2000, pp.70-72.

2 Ezia Gavazza, Lorenzo De Ferrari, Milano 1965, pp.104-106, figs. 86 and foll.

3 Pietro Boccardo, I grandi disegni italiani del Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe di Palazzo Rosso a Genova, Cinisello Balsamo 1999, n. 79. On the Accademia Ligustica drawings (which include some studies for the “Galleria d’Oro”, see Disegni del Museo dell’Accademia Ligustica, “Quaderni del Museo dell’Accademia Ligustica di Belle Arti”, 27 (March 2000), pp. 20- 28, nos. 9-13 (entries by A. Cabella).

4 On Lorenzo’s early style see the recent Franco Boggero, Rossana Vitiello, ed. by, Lorenzo De Ferrari per Casaleggio Boiro. Un’insolita vicenda, Savignone 2019.

5 Alessandra Cabella, Paolo Gerolamo Piola e la sua casa genovese, Genova 2002, pp. 105-106.

6 Carlo Giuseppe Ratti, Delle vite dei Pittori, Scultori, ed Architetti genovesi, Genova 1769, p. 271; Alessandra Cabella, Paolo Gerolamo Piola e la sua casa genovese, Genova 2002, p.132.

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