Studies of heads

Gaetano Gandolfi
S. Matteo della decima 1734 - Bologna 1802
Studies of heads
Pen and brown ink
270 x 210 mm

Signed in pen and grey ink at the bottom right corner G. Gandolfi.

The drawing, in fine condition, is a remarkable example of Gaetano's mastery in the execution of the Capricci di teste. The genre, widespread in the eighteenth century, offered all three artists of the Gandolfi family the opportunity to draw elegant and harmonious groups. Gaetano excelled in this genre, to whom he also dedicated numerous etchings. Precisely in the rigorous construction of the image with points and lines, our sheet reveals close analogy with the technique used in the engravings.

Prisco Bagni, I Gandolfi. Affreschi dipinti bozzetti disegni, 1992.
Aa. Vv. I Gandolfi. Ubaldo, Gaetano, Mauro. Disegni e dipinti, 1997.
Fausto Gozzi, Ubaldo, Gaetano e Mauro Gandolfi: Le incisioni, 2002.

Gaetano Gandolfi was a Bolognese artist that, with his brother Ubaldo, refreshed the quiet scene of Bolognese graphic since 1760. Both were born in San Matteo della Decima and both enrolled at Accademia Clementina of Bologna where, apart from some short trips, they worked almost in their city. Gaetano, younger six years than his brother, won two medals for sculpture and four medals for his drawings. He spent a year in Venice in 1760 and in 1783 he visited London, maybe after an invite of Richard Dalton who was in Italy finding objects d’art for Giorgio III.
As we said before, Gaetano received numerous commissions for altarpieces for churches throughout Emilia and elsewhere, and also worked extensively as a fresco painter. One of his first important decorative projects was a ceiling fresco of the Four Elements, in the Palazzo Odorici. This was followed by work in several other Bolognese palaces. Very rare and fine were his etchings and aquatint. Throughout his life Gandolfi remained actively involved in the affairs of the Accademia Clementina, where he taught a class in life drawing. Gandolfi was a gifted draughtsman and a fine engraver; his works were highly prized.

Other works of the master