Monday, October 23, 2017

Sketchbooks of Felice Giani (1758-1823)

Felice Giani
 Self-portrait
before 1823
drawing
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Felice Giani (1758-1823) strongly supported Napoleon's conquest of Europe and flourished under his Empire.  According to a profile provided by the Getty, "his team of artists and craftsmen decorated palaces and public buildings throughout Italy, including Rome, Venice, and Faenza.  Sumptuous and richly colored, Giani's distinctive Neoclassical style combined a wealth of antique ornament with wall and ceiling paintings depicting subjects from ancient Greece and Rome . . . he absorbed influences ranging from ancient Greek and Roman art to Michelangelo's and Raphael's Renaissance classicism and the Romantic classicism of contemporaries such as Johann Heinrich Fuseli.  . . .  Participating in revolutionary and pro-French causes brought Giani commissions and honors.  He collaborated on decorations for Napoleon's triumphal entry into Bologna in 1805.  From 1812 to 1813 he worked in France at Napoleon's request, decorating rooms in the Palais de Tuileries and the Château Malmaison.  In 1811 he entered the Roman Accademia di San Luca, and in 1819 he was elected to the Congregation of the Virtuosi of the Pantheon." 


Felice Giani
Design for wall decoration, Pompeian Room, Palazzo Altieri, Rome
1792
drawing, watercolor
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Felice Giani
Sketchbook leaf with copies of four paintings
Upper left - Holy Family with St Catherine after Francesco Albano
Upper right - St John the Baptist after Guercino
Lower left - St George and the Dragon after Alessandro Tiriani
Lower right - Angels with lilies after Alessandro Tiriani

1821-22
drawing
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Felice Giani
Above - Putti making music after Lodovico Carracci
Below - Entombment after Lucio Massari

ca. 1820-21
drawing
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Felice Giani
Study after Dosso Dossi - St George and the Dragon
 ca. 1821-22
drawing
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Felice Giani
Study after Lodovico Carracci - Madonna and Child
1815
drawing
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Felice Giani
Study after Lodovico Carracci - St Anthony and the Hermits
1809-1818
drawing
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Felice Giani
Studies after Carracci frescoes - Four Herms
ca. 1821-22
drawing
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Felice Giani
Studies after Carracci frescoes - Three Herms
ca. 1821-22
drawing
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Felice Giani
Study after Peter Paul Rubens - Four figures on clouds
ca. 1813-18
drawing
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Felice Giani
Study after Peter Paul Rubens - Two Lion-heads
ca. 1813-18
drawing
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum


Felice Giani
Study of four statues by Michelangelo on the Tomb of Pope Julius II
ca. 1821-22
drawing
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Felice Giani
Study after Giulio Romano and Raphael - Godfrey de Bouillon
ca. 1820
drawing
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Felice Giani
Study after Raphael - Group with Petrarch and Sappho from Parnassus fresco
ca. 1820
drawing
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Felice Giani
Artist drawing by lamplight
ca. 1800-1820
drawing
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Modern Renderings of Centaurs

Edward Poynter
Centaur and Dragon
before 1919
watercolor, bodycolor
British Museum

William Harcourt Hooper
Trade-card proof - Muse receiving letter from Centaur and letter from Triton
ca. 1880-1910
wood-engraving
British Museum

John Flaxman
Battle of Centaur and nude man
before 1826
drawing
British Museum

John Sell Cotman
The Centaur
1806
wash-drawing inspired by the arrival of the Elgin Marbles in London
British Museum

On Seeing the Elgin Marbles

My spirit is too weak  mortality
    Weighs heavily on me like unwilling sleep,
    And each imagined pinnacle and steep
Of godlike hardship tells me I must die
Like a sick eagle looking at the sky.
    Yet 'tis a gentle luxury to weep
    That I have not the cloudy winds to keep
Fresh for the opening of the morning's eye.
Such dim-conceived glories of the brain
    Bring round the heart an undescribable feud;
So do these wonders a most dizzy pain,
    That mingles Grecian grandeur with the rude
Wasting of old time  with a billowy main 
    A sun  a shadow of a magnitude.

 by John Keats, "composed on 1 or 2 March 1817 after visiting the British Museum with Benjamin Robert Haydon to see the Parthenon frieze which Lord Elgin had recently acquired for the nation.  According to Joseph Severn, Keats went 'again and again to see the Elgin Marbles, and would sit for an hour or more at a time beside them rapt in revery'."

Richard Earlom after Giovanni Battista Cipriani
Battle of Theseus and Centaur
1789
etching, aquatint
British Museum

Caroline Metz
Centaur and woman confronted by monster
ca. 1773-94
drawing
British Museum

follower of Agostino Carracci
Centaur abducting woman, pursued by a man
before 1657
drawing
British Museum

Pasquale Ottino
Battle of Lapiths and Centaurs
before 1630
wash drawing
British Museum

Pieter de Bailliu after Peter Paul Rubens
Battle of Lapiths and Centaurs with abduction of Hippodamia
ca. 1620-50
engraving
British Museum

Charles David after Cornelis Cort after Frans Floris
Hercules preventing Centaurs from abducting Hippodamia
1620s
engraving
British Museum

Antonio Tempesta
Hercules battling Centaurs
1608
etching
British Museum

Étienne Delaune
Battle of Lapiths and Centaurs with abduction of Hippodamia
ca. 1550-72
engraving
British Museum

Battista Franco
Abduction of Dejanira by Centaur Nessus, resisted by Hercules
ca. 1530-61
etching, engraving
British Museum

attributed to Allaert Claesz
Ornament design with Centaurs bearing off women
ca. 1520-60
engraving
British Museum

attributed to Pietro Bergantini workshop after Luca Signorelli
Dish of tin-glazed earthenware - Battle of Lapiths and Centaurs
1525
maiolica
British Museum

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Renderings of Ancient Centaurs

Greek marble relief
Battle of Lapiths and Centaurs
Frieze-block from the Temple of Apollo Epikourios at Bassai
420-400 BC, excavated in 1815
British Museum

Greek marble relief
Battle of Lapiths and Centaurs
Frieze-block from the Temple of Apollo Epikourios at Bassai
420-400 BC, excavated in 1815
British Museum

Greek marble relief
Battle of Lapiths and Centaurs
Frieze-block from the Temple of Apollo Epikourios at Bassai
420-400 BC, excavated in 1815
British Museum

Greek marble relief
Battle of Lapiths and Centaurs
Frieze-block from the Temple of Apollo Epikourios at Bassai
420-400 BC, excavated in 1815
British Museum

Etruscan alabaster cinerary urn
Relief of Centaurs bearing off Lapith women
300-100 BC
British Museum

The artifacts above are among rare survivors from the so-called Classical world.  Below are drawings and prints copied from other such survivors as could be seen in early modern Europe.  It is a distressing and even puzzling fact that many ancient sculptures and sarcophagus-reliefs and frescoes displayed and copied in the 15th and 16th centuries have not survived into our own age and are now (once again) declared to be "lost".

Amico Aspertini
Bacchus in chariot drawn by Centaur
ca. 1496-1510
drawing after lost antique relief
British Museum

Anonymous Italian artist
Battle of Lapiths and Centaurs
before 1500
drawing after antique relief once in the della Valle collection in Rome, now lost
British Museum

attributed to Pirro Ligorio
Bacchus in chariot drawn by Centaurs
ca. 1535-50
drawing after antique relief
British Museum

Battista Franco
Bacchus and Ariadne in chariot pulled by musical Centaurs - Silenus with Satyrs and Bacchantes
ca. 1549
engraving after antique relief in two registers
British Museum

Cassiano dal Pozzo Paper Museum
Centaur and Satyr wrestling, Athletic Herm looking on - Pan carried by Cupids and Satyr 
ca. 1650
drawings after Roman sarcophagus relief
British Museum

Cassiano dal Pozzo Paper Museum
 Centaur with thyrsos, accompanied by Satyr, panther and nude man
ca. 1650
drawing after Dionysiac relief
British Museum

Charles Townley (collector)
Terracotta Campana relief - Theseus battling Centaur
ca. 1768-1805
drawing, watercolor
British Museum

Edward Thomason
Elgin Marbles series of medals - Lapith subdued by Centaur
1819-23
struck metal
British Museum

Giuseppe Cluny after Lodovico Mirri and Francesco Novelli
Abduction of Hippodamia by Centaur Eurito
1802
etching and aquatint after ancient Roman fresco from the Baths of Titus
British Museum

Slate (the Stone) at the British Museum

Anonymous European Cameo
Half-figure of a lady as Minerva
16th century
carved onyx backed on slate
British Museum

And his strange property sets sighs to move
And wills man look into unformèd space
Rousing there thirst
                                that breaketh into flame.  
None can imagine love
                                     that knows not love;
Love doth not move, but draweth all to him;
Nor doth he turn
                            for a whim
                                              to find delight
Nor to seek out, surely,
                          great knowledge or slight.
Look drawn from like,
                        delight maketh certain in seeming.
Nor can in covert cower,
                      beauty so near,
Not yet wild-cruel as darts,
So hath man craft from fear
                             in such his desire
To follow a noble spirit,
                         edge, that is, and point to the dart,
Though from her face indiscernible;
He, caught, falleth
                             plumb onto the spike of the targe.
Who well proceedeth, form not seeth,
                                 following his own emanation.
There, beyond colour, essence set apart,
In midst of darkness light light giveth forth
Beyond all falsity, worthy of faith, alone
That in him solely is compassion born. 
Safe may'st thou go, my canzon, whither thee pleaseth
Thou art so fair attired that every man and each
Shall praise thy speech
So he have sense or glow with reason's fire,
To stand with other
                               hast thou no desire.

 Guido Cavalcanti (ca. 1255-1300), from the canzone Donna mi prega, translated by Ezra Pound in Make It New (1935)


attributed to Christoph Weiditz
Portrait-bust of Admiral Andrea Doria
ca, 1533
carved slate medallion
British Museum
bequeathed by Sir Hans Sloane

Anonymous Italian Cameo
Laureate-head of an Emperor
16th century
carved shell backed on slate
British Museum
bequeathed by Sir Hans Sloane

Gaspare Morone Mola
Hercules battling Centaur
1598
wax on slate model for medal
British Museum

Georg Schweigger
Birth and naming of St John the Baptist
1642
carved slate relief after Albrecht Dürer's 1510 woodcut 'Death of the Virgin'
British Museum

Giovanni Martino Hamerani
Profile-portrait of Queen Christina of Sweden
ca. 1680
wax on slate model for medal
British Museum

Ermengildo Hamerani
Venus and Hercules
1719
wax on slate model for reverse of medal commemorating
marriage of James Stuart (the Old Pretender) and Clementina Sobieski
British Museum

Anonymous European cameo
Two bearded heads facing one another
before 1753
carved slate
British Museum
bequeathed by Sir Hans Sloane

Josiah Wedgwood
Frieze of Cupids in chariots
ca. 1775-95
wax on slate model for unrealized plaque
British Museum

John Henning
Mould for miniature reproduction of the Parthenon frieze
1819
carved slate
British Museum

William Wyon
St George and the Dragon
ca. 1815-51
wax on slate medallion with glass cover
British Museum

William Wyon
Lion pacing to left below date-bearing palm
ca. 1815-1851
wax on slate model for reverse of Indian gold Mohur coin
British Museum

William Wyon
Winged Victory crowning bust of Lord Nelson on a monument
ca. 1830-40
wax on slate model for medal
British Museum

William Wyon
Queen Victoria holding orb and resting sceptre on lion
ca. 1837-51
wax on slate model for reverse of five-pound piece
British Museum