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Pelagio Palagi

(Bologna 1775-Turin 1860) 

Album of 32 views of Rome and surroundings, taken from life with ideal reconstructions of ancient buildings 

circa 1806 

Album of 30 sheets, of which 29 drawn in pen and brown ink with traces of pencil, two also drawn on the back and one in pencil, 238 × 377 mm each 

Provenance: England, private collection 


The¬†genre¬†of drawing from life of Roman¬†vedute¬†boasts¬†a¬†centuries-long¬†tradition¬†among¬†the¬†artists of diverse provenance who flocked to the Eternal City to study its monuments and works of art.¬†At the turn of¬†the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries¬†Felice Giani¬†and the artists of his circle,¬†one of¬†whom¬†was¬†Palagi,¬†turned to drawing, recognising it as¬†the basis of their art.¬†But in this¬†album,¬†as in one other dismembered notebook, conserved in part at the¬†Archiginnasio¬†and¬†in¬†part¬†in a private collection with the frontispiece of¬†‚ÄúViews from life,‚Ä̬†the¬†life¬†drawings¬†become richer,¬†due to Palagi‚Äôs¬†antiquing interests,¬†in¬†the¬†ideal¬†reconstructions of¬†ancient buildings,¬†set in such a singular visionary mixture with classical remains¬†alongside¬†the¬†monuments of modern¬†Rome.¬†These¬†highly suggestive¬†sheets of paper¬†concern the first phase of the artist‚Äôs period of study in Rome,¬†starting in¬†1806,¬†an artist that¬†would later be among the protagonists of painting as well as interior and architectural design in Italy¬†in¬†both¬†the¬†neoclassical and¬†romantic¬†age.¬†¬†

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