Master Works on Paper from Five Centuries

Master Works on Paper from Five Centuries

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 2. Four rocks on a shore, to the left travelers on their way to a rural church at the top of the rock.

Gherardo Cibo

Four rocks on a shore, to the left travelers on their way to a rural church at the top of the rock

Auction Closed

July 3, 10:51 AM GMT


15,000 - 20,000 GBP

Lot Details


Gherardo Cibo

(Genoa 1512 - 1600 Rocca Contrada)

Four rocks on a shore, to the left travelers on their way to a rural church at the top of the rock to the left

Pen and brown ink and brown wash with touches of green and blue gouache and watercolour

180 by 280 mm

Private collection, France

A fantastical landscape with rocks on a shore, this image is typical of Cibo's artistic and poetic sensibility. Though an amateur, Cibo was a distinguished artist, mostly admired as a landscape and botanical draughtsman, often executing his works directly from nature. The delicate colorfulness of the present sheet is reminiscent not only of some of his landscapes, equally enlivened by tempera and watercolour, but also of his botanical illustrations. The touches of colours all around the top margin of this sheet show the artist cleaning his brushes. These can also be seen on some pages from the sketchbook of twenty-two leaves sold in these Rooms in 1989, now in a private collection.1

Born into an important noble Genoese family (among his forebears was Pope Innocent VIII, 1484-1492), Cibo was initially destined for the priesthood, but decided to abandon an ecclesiastical career to pursue his interests as a musician and botanist. He lived mostly in the Marches, especially in the city of Rocca Contrada (now called Arcevia), the residence of his mother Bianca Maria Vigeri della Rovere. 

Before Cibo's real identity was first revealed by Arnold Nesselrath in 19892, many of his drawings were attributed to Northern artists such as Bril, Cock or Spranger, on account of their clear stylistic debt to drawings and prints by Northern masters such as these, while others were listed under the name of the enigmatic 'Messer Ulisse Severino da Cingoli.'

Cibo could, as Lucia Tongiorgi Tomasi wrote ' considered as the very embodiment of that fascinating Renaissance ideal - the "artist-scientist-dilettante".3 For more information on the artist see also G. Mangani and L. Tongiorgi Tomasi, Gherardo Cibo. Dilettante di botanica e pittore di 'paesi'. Arte, scienza e illustrazione botanica nel XVI, Ancona 2013.

  1. Sale, London, Sotheby's, 3 July 1989, lot 106; for images see, A. Nesselrath, Gherardo Cibo, alias "Ulisse Severino da Cingoli" exhib. cat., Comune di San Severino, Centro Studi Salimbeni per le Arti Figurative, 1989, illus. I, II, IV 
  2. Ibid., pp. 18-19
  3. L. Tongiorgi Tomasi, ' Gherardo Cibo: Visions of landscape..' , Journal of Garden History, vol. 9, no. 4 (1989), p. 215