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LORENZO TODINI (1646-c.1689)
  • LORENZO TODINI (1646-c.1689)


    Gouache on vellum

    44 x 30.5 cm




    We are grateful to Dr Andrei Bliznukov for his generous assistance in cataloguing this work and confirming the attribution on the basis of digital images. Dr Bliznukov has suggested that this work was likely executed in the same period as another drawing by the artist, which also depicts flowers in a deep blue vase with golden decorations, now in the former Medici collections at Poggia a Caiano (dated to 1684, see final image above). 



    Lorenzo Todini is an artist whose works are, today, remarkably scarce outside Roman collections, with the majority of his works being held in private collections and Tuscan institutions (primarily the former Medici collections). On the basis of his name, it is likely that the artist's family hailed from Todi, a small town in Perugia; however, we know that he was born in 1646 in Florence, the son of an associate or member of the Court of the Medici, and that his godfather was Lorenzo de'Medici (after whom he was likely named), one of the great artistic patrons of his age. It is likely that the young Lorenzo grew up in the milieu of court life in Florence and was apprenticed first to calligrapher and engraver Valerio Spada (1613-1688), who acted as godfather to Lorenzo's first son in 1680. Spada had earned acclaim for his engravings for the Saggi di Naturale Esperienze fatte nell'Accademia del Cimento, an important text recording the experiments and studies of the followers of Galileo and other scientific research of the age (1). Simari notes that, in this respect, Todini underwent a similar training to the earlier Garzoni, who had studied under Giacomo Rogni in Venice early in her career (2).


    Like Garzoni, and particularly Octavianus Montfort (active c.1650-1700 in Piedmont and Tuscany), Todini's works generally follow a simple formula: flowers in vases atop marbled pedestals, most often blue delftware but occasionally the elaborate blue and gold vases such as the present works', often with animals or loose fruit placed either side of the vases. Unlike his better-known contemporary Octavianus Montfort, Todini appears to have preferred flowers to fruit, and Todini's elaborate vases with fantastical handles are highly distinctive within the genre of 'fiori su pergamene' that was so fashionable in the first half of the seventeenth century in Florence. 

    • NOTES

      (1) For a study of Spada's prints in the text, cf. P.D. Massar, 'The Prints of Valerio Spada II', in Print Quarterly, Vol. 4, No. 1 (March, 1987), pp. 19-39

      (2) M.M. Simari, 'Seguendo le orme della Garzoni a Firenze: Lorenzo Todini, Artemisia Todini e Luisa Maria Vitelli - In margine alla mostra pergamene fiorite', in Amici di Palazzo Pitti Bulletin (2014), p.41

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