Immediately following the sale of the splendid collection of Giancarlo Baroni, this wide-ranging auction of drawings from the 16th to the early 19th centuries is no less rich and varied.
The two undisputed stars are the drawings by Rubens and Blake - each as powerful and passionate as the other, but in every other respect utterly different. The young Rubens seems to have made his strikingly modern sheet of anatomical studies in connection with an ultimately unrealised project for an anatomy book. He was very likely inspired by seeing a group of anatomical drawings by Leonardo da Vinci, yet how very different is his dramatic approach, when compared with Leonardo’s meticulous, scientific studies. The superb watercolour by Blake is one of a series of magnificently imaginative works made to illustrate a once celebrated epic poem, The Grave, by Robert Blair, drawings that were famously rediscovered in a small Scottish bookshop in 2001.
Other highlights include a fine, and extremely rare, large, finished watercolour by Jan van Huysum and Luti's great design for his elaborate ceiling painting of 1700 in Rome’s Palazzo Colonna.
Contrary to the information given in the source cited in the catalogue entry under footnote 5 Professor David Ekserdjian has kindly informed us that he believes the verso is actually after the scene of Jeroboam before Rehoboam from the lost basamento of Bay 12 of Raphael's Loggia or Bible citing the following reference: B.F. Davidson, Raphael's Bible: A Study of the Vatican Logge, University Park and London, 1985, fig. 102.
Please note that this drawing is by Charles Gabriel Lemire (1741 - 1827).
Additional literature: Martin Myrone, The Blake Book, London 2007, pp. 117-119, reproduced pl. 78
We are grateful to Professor Lino Moretti for highlighting that recent studies have unveiled records of Grubacs' baptism and other official documents in which he is referred to as Grubas. He was born in Venice on 3rd May 1802 and died there 9th November 1878. These records also confirm that his family was originally from the Dalmatian town of Perasto and that their Hungarian origins were in fact the invention of writers from the last century.