41
41
Ippolito Caffi
ITALIAN
THE BENEDICTION OF PIUS IX IN ST PETER'S SQUARE, ROME
Estimate
60,00080,000
LOT SOLD. 75,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
41
Ippolito Caffi
ITALIAN
THE BENEDICTION OF PIUS IX IN ST PETER'S SQUARE, ROME
Estimate
60,00080,000
LOT SOLD. 75,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

19th Century European Paintings

|
London

Ippolito Caffi
1809 - 1866
ITALIAN
THE BENEDICTION OF PIUS IX IN ST PETER'S SQUARE, ROME
signed and dated Caffi. 1857 lower right
oil on canvas
35 by 60cm., 13¾ by 23½
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

The authenticity of this work has been confirmed by Annalisa Scarpa.

Provenance

Sale: Christie's, New York, 11 November, 1998, lot 6
Vance Jordan Fine Art, New York (label on verso)
Private collection, USA (sale: Sotheby's, Milan, 18 June 2008, lot 54)
Private collection, Italy (purchased at the above sale)

Catalogue Note

One of several versions of the subject (an oval version is currently held at the Museo di Roma), the present work depicts an important moment in Italy’s history. In the midst of the Risorgimento revolts spreading throughout the entire peninsula as a cry against foreign rule, Pope Pius IX was well received and seen to have somewhat liberal and patriotic views. On 10 February 1848, during the usual Sunday blessing in St Peter’s square, the Pope gave his famous speech to the crowd which ended with the invocation ‘Benedite, Gran Dio, l’Italia!’ In a wave of enthusiasm, the same night a crowd gathered in Piazza del Quirinale where the Pope gave a second blessing. Yet republican insurrections spread through Rome as well and on 24 November Pius IX fled the city, giving the opportunity to Giuseppe Mazzini to proclaim a short-lived Roman Republic.  

Caffi painted the first version of Pope Pius IX Blessing St Peter's Square in 1848, just before leaving Rome for Venice, to take part in the fight against the Austrians. He then exhibited the picture for the first time while in Venice and, after it met with great success from the public, he decided to paint other versions. Painted in 1857, the present work is therefore one of the latter versions, and painted shortly after the artist’s return to Rome in 1855.

Caffi was constantly interested in scientific advances, including photography and hot-air balloons, both of which allowed panopticon views from high viewpoints as in the present work. It was in Rome that Caffi developed his own personal style, departing from the vedutismo prevalent among artists in Venice. In a letter to his friend Tessari, Caffi stresses the importance of working in plein air versus in the studio as in Venice: ‘[…] when one compares one of their views with reality, not only is the former without character, but it also feels like the portrayal of some fine baroque object’ (Caffi. luci del Mediterraneo, exh.cat, 2005, Milan, p. 46).

19th Century European Paintings

|
London