Study for a Lunette : an apocalyptic vision of St John the Evangelist

WAG 1995.99


Giuseppe Maria Rolli (1645 - 1727) was an Italian painter of the Baroque period, specialising in figures, mythological and religious subjects. He was also an engraver and fresco artist who painted many frescoes for the churches in Bologna. The inscription on the mount is probably by Jonathan Richardson, attributing the drawing to Domenico Canuti (1625 - 1684). A second inscription on the verso suggests that it was thought to be a study or preparatory for Canuti's frescoes in the Palazzo Pepoli, Bologna. These were painted in 1669, providing a possible time-frame for WAG 1995.99. Ebria Feinblatt attributes the drawing to Giuseppe Maria Rolli ( in her article 'Some Drawings by Giuseppe Rolli Identified', published in Master Drawings, 1982 (XXX, pp 26, pl. 30). Feinblatt writes that Rolli was influenced by his teacher Canuti and that many of Rolli's drawing were previously attributed to Canuti. Comparing the two artists, Feinblatt says that 'Rolli drew in a generally broader, if not coarser and clumsier manner than Canuti', describing Rolli's style as possessing 'vigor and dramatic force' and a 'certain bravura', combined with 'graphic energy'. Feinblatt points out the unquestionable characteristics of Rolli's style in this drawing: 'His characteristics can be perceived in the...familiar awkwardly raised arm and large finger spread of the seated figure at the right as well as in the rendering of the saint's hair, the disposition of the wash, and the faces of the baby angels'.