top of page



Pen & brown ink on laid paper

20.8 x 29.5 cm



Private collection, Italy





This work can be closely compared to another by Bazzicaluva, showing a similarly elegant rider in the foreground and the city of Florence to the background, which may have been its pendant (sold by Jacques et Galila Hollander at Christie's, Paris, 16.10.2013, Lot 111). On that occasion, Christie's compared the drawing to two further sheets, in the Louvre (inv. nos. 37297 & 37298), though that comparison was an unlikely one: since then, the Louvre have reattributed both of those drawings to Valerio Spada, an artistr active during the same period, whose figures are often considerably larger and hand less caligraphic in the delineation of the topography. 




Ercole Bazzicaluva was born in Pisa and trained in Florence, then at the height of the Médici dynasty's long reign, in the workshop of Giulio Parigi (1571-1635). As a talented topographical draughtsman and engraver, he was commissioned to produce prints depicting various cities early on in his career. Whilst training in Florence, Bazzicaluva shared a house and workshop next to SS.Annunziata with fellow student and artist Simone Sacchettini. Among the other pupils in Parigi's workshop were the three sons of the landscape draftsman and painter Remigio Cantagallina, to whom Bazzicaluva's style is also partly-indebted. In particular, his very finely detailed penmanship echoes Cantagallina's own skill in fine detailing, which would have been well-known to Bazzicaluva through the older artist's widely dispersed landscape etchings, if not through the original drawings themselves. In 1638 he was commissioned to engrave a series of twelve landscapes and marine views (called the Paesi con la fama, di Ercole Bazicaluve...') for the Grand Duke Ferdinand II. The series was closely comparable to landscapes etched by Callot (a fellow student of  Bazzicaluva's in Parigi's workshop) in 1618 for Giovanni de Médici. In 1641, Bazzicaluva illustrated the mock-heroic poem Le Pazzie dei Savi (or, Lambertaccio) by Bartolomeo Bocchini.


A printmaker and draftsman as well as a military man, Bazzicaluva later worked for the Archduke of Innsbruck and served as "castellan" at the old fortress of Livorno and the fortressat Siena according to his contemporary, the art historian Filippo Baldinucci, who further described him as ‘a brilliant draughtsman in pen and ink’. Among Bazzicaluva's other patrons was Alessandro Visconti, to whom he dedicated a series of etchings of hunting scenes.



Writing in 1970, the art historian and biographer Alfredo Petrucci wrote, "The ideal and formal world of Bazzicaluva [was] primarily influenced by Antonio Tempesta, with the addition of an idiosyncratic taste for chivalry and displays of swordsmanship; and by the artist's direct and indirect contact with Giulio and Alfonso Parigi, Remigio Cantagallina, Giacomo Callot and Stefano Della Bella. His battles and hunt scenes are clearly inspired by Tempesta, the landscapes by Cantagallina and Stefano Della Bella..." (1)



    (1) A. Petrucci, 'Bazzicaluva, Ercole', in the Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, Vol. 7 (Rome, 1970)


    (I) A. Negro Spina, Giulio Parigi e gli incisori della sua cerchia, Naples (1983), pp.181-191

bottom of page