Giovanni Battista Cipriani RA, Italian Peasant Woman - 18th-century ink drawing


An original 18th-century pen & ink drawing, Giovanni Battista Cipriani RA Italian Peasant Woman in Profile.

A signed ink sketch by Giovanni Battista Cipriani RA (1727–1785) showing an old Italian woman in profile with aquiline nose. The drawing has an element of caricature, or at least the rustic grotesque; Cipriani employed the grotesque in his designs for statuary, including groups of carvings at Somerset House, London. He was also adept at classical profile portraits, exemplified in the publication ‘108 Plates of Antique Gems’ which comprised copperplate engraving by Francesco Bartolozzi after Cipriani’s designs. The small sketch of an additional ear to the left of the paper is an interesting detail; ear studies (along with studies of eyes, noses, mouths, hands, feet and faces) featured prominently in his book ‘Rudiments of Drawing’, again engraved by Bartolozzi, and published in London in 1786.

On laid paper with watermark upper left. Laid down on backing paper.

Provenance: Covent Garden Gallery

Signed lower right.
Inscribed below on the backing paper in a later hand: 'Cipriani'.
Some minor age toning and marks, as shown.
9.4cm x 10.8cm.

Giovanni Battista Cipriani RA (1727–1785) was an Italian painter and engraver, and a founder member of the Royal Academy.

Cipriani studied in Florence and Rome, where he became acquainted with the architect Sir William Chambers, and the sculptor Joseph Wilton. Cipriani came to London with Wilton in 1755. Having gained a reputation for his paintings at the abbey of San Michele in Pelago, Pistoia, and the Santa Maria Maddalena dei Pazzi in Florence, on arriving in London he found patronage with Lord Tilney, the Duke of Richmond, among other noblemen. Cipriani completed numerous prestigious architectural and decorative commissions, including painting part of a ceiling in Buckingham House, a ceiling at the Albany for Lord Holland, and decorations for the interior at Somerset House. Much of Cipriani's output was inspired by Classical subjects.

Cipriani was a founder member (1768) of the Royal Academy, and designed its diploma. Many of Cipriani’s designs were engraved by his friend Francesco Bartolozzi. Cipriani was buried at Dovehouse Green, Chelsea, where Bartolozzi erected a monument to his memory. Among his pupils were John Alexander Gresse (1741–1794); Charles Grignion the Younger (1754–1804); and Mauritius Lowe (1746–1793).

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Product code: JN-617

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