Lot 112
  • 112

GIOVANNI BATTISTA PIAZZETTA | A boy in a broad-brimmed hat, holding a flute

20,000 - 25,000 EUR
bidding is closed


  • A boy in a broad-brimmed hat, holding a flute
  • Black chalk and stumping, heightened with white chalk, on faded blue paper ;bears old numbering on the verso in pen and brown ink : N.490.
  • 376 by 281 mm; 14 7/8 by 11 in


Sale, London, Christie's, 5 July 1988, lot 86;
Ian Woodner;
by descent to Dian and Andrea Woodner, 
sale, London, Christie's, Old Master Drawings from the Woodner Collection, 2 July 1991, lot 124;
Sale, New York, Sotheby's, 27 January 2010, lot 91, where purchased by the present owner

Catalogue Note

This carefully modeled study belongs to the series known as 'Teste di carattere'. These large sheets are the most well known and famous of Piazzetta's drawings, executed as independent works of art.  Often, Piazzetta's drawings of this type portray members of his own family, in particular his wife and children.  They reveal a lyrical and poetic aspect of the artist's work in portraying mostly beautiful heads of young people, in groups or individually, as in the present sheet.  Here the vigorous and subtle handling of the black chalk with stumping creates an atmospheric play of chiaroscuro, highlighted in places by the use of white chalk.  The elegance of the present drawing is modulated by its intrinsic pictorial effects.   Piazzetta made a good number of these head studies over many years, and they must have provided him with a regular source of income.  They achieved great popularity with collectors and connoisseurs in his own time, and have remained equally appreciated ever since.  The artist also produced versions of his own drawings to fulfill the demand for such finished works on paper.  Some, either single figures such as the present example, or groups of two or three, were also engraved by Marco Pitteri and Giovanni Cattini, who in 1743 published fourteen such prints under the title: 'Icones ad vivum expressae'.  No print related to the present sheet is known.  

The attribution to Piazzetta was confirmed by Professor George Knox at the time of the Woodner sale (see Provenance).