A WOODED LANDSCAPE WITH A TOWER BY A BRIDGE
Numbered, dated & signed in plate l.m. "8 CRG. IN. PCG EX. 1625"
Etching on laid paper - 1st & final state
Plate: 14 x 20 cm / Sheet 17.3 x 23.7 cm
This exceedingly scarce print, in excellent condition, is part of a series of twelve octagonal etchings derived from the drawings of Remigio Cantagallina, the influential Florentine printer and draughtsman who specialised in naturalistic landscapes (1). The present work relates directly to a signed drawing in the British Museum (Acc. No. 1946,0713.709), attributed presently to Cristofano Paolo Galli but demonstrated to be by Clemente Paolo Gini (2).
Clemente Paolo Gini is now understood to have been a close follower of Cantagallina's. As a young man, Gini was accused of murder and consequently fled his native Bologna. Despite his absence or exile, he seems to have remained in contact with prominent members of his hometown’s cultural élite, including that city's acclaimed poet Cesare Rinaldi, who corresponded with him on one occasion in 1620. We can assume that Gini was therefore cultured and immersed in the arts, though not a professional: his reiterated use of models by Cantagallina suggests a possible link to an artistic education at the Tuscan court, where Cantagallina spent much of his career giving drawing lessons to young noblemen, with a particular focus on landscape.
A previous curator's comments on the drawing in the BM noted that they had not yet encountered a landscape etching with Galli's monogram, first mentioned by Georg Kasper Nagler in Die Monogrammisten (3) who in turn said that Johann Andreas Borner had seen one of this series. The attribution to Galli therefore remained attached to the drawing in the BM and the present impression until 2013 when Stefano Rinaldi corrected this. The British Museum holds the frontispiece, also by Gini, for this series of prints (Acc. No. 1895,1031.30), which dedicates the group to Girolamo Preti, 'Maestro di Camera' [Chamberlain] of Antonio Barberini.
One group of these etchings (it is not known how many were produced but there is at least one further impression of the present subject, currently in the trade in Italy) was sold on the English market as part of Thomas Lloyd's collection by George Jones in London, 01.07.1825 (Lot 633, Landscapes in Octagons, after Cantagalini [sic], with Dedication to Girolamo Preti, by Clemente Paolo Gini, this artist is not mentioned by Zani). A further reference to another group in circulation can be found in 1821 (4).
(1) K.H. von Heinecken, Dictionnaire des artistes, dont nous avons des estampes avec une notice détaillée de leurs ouvrages gravés, 1778-1790, vol. III, p. 569
(2) S. Rinaldi, Alla scuola del disegno di Remigio Cantagallina: Disegni e stampe di paesaggio di Clemente Paolo Gini, Rivista d'arte, serie quinta, 3 (2013), pp. 187-223
(3) K.G. Nagler, Die Monogrammisten, Munich (1860), vol. II, p.205
(4) Catalogo ragionato dei libri d'arte e d'antichità posseduti dal Conte Cicognara, Pisa (1821), Vol. I, cat. no. 2037
(i) A.E. Popham, Catalogue of Drawings in the Collection formed by Sir Thomas Phillipps, Bart., F.R.S., now in the possession of his Grandson, T. Fitzroy Phillipps Fenwick of Thirlestaine House, Cheltenham, London, 1935, p. 131, no. 1 (as Cantagallina)
(ii) Vasari Vedutista (ed. Carchio, Manescalchi & Marrani), Grafica European Centre Centre of Fine Arts (2012), p.69