Gaetano is a confident and assured draftsman, and his virtuoso and pictorial use of different media is testimony to his talent: pen and ink and wash, red chalk, and black chalk often combined with stumping as in the present sheet. The subjects of Gaetano late drawings are often derived from Greek and Roman history as well as mythology. As we can see here these sheets are often executed in an highly finished style, although they are not necessarily independent works from Gaetano's late Neoclassical period. When this sheet was exhibited in Bologna, in 1998, as part of a group of four drawings in the Franchi collection, all signed and dated 1800, Pedrielli suggested that they could have been done for the decoration of an interior, and he related The Rape of Dejanira
and Venus discovering the body of Adonis
with two paintings by Gaetano, in private collections (see Exhibited
Until now the present study seems not to be preparatory for any known painted work by the artist, and it was executed
two years before Gaetano's sudden death when playing 'bocce' (bowls) in the church field of San Emidio, in Bologna.
1. The group was previously published by Roli who was not aware of the connection with the paintings mentioned above (see Literature)