Framed Dimensions:145 x 132 cm.
Provenance:The Artist's studio upon his death in 1889;
and by descent until acquired by the gather of the previous owner in the 1970s.
Ranzi, Les Beaux-arts italiens à l’exposition universelle de Paris, Paris, 1867;
Rocca, Costanza dei Tortonesi. Gran quadro a olio del cavaliere Professore Andrea Gastaldi di Torino. Album della Società Promotrice delle Belle Arti, Torino, 1868;
Dall’Ongaro, L’arte italiana a Parigi. La pittura (1867) in Scritti d’arte, Milano, 1873;
A. M. Brizio, in Enciclopedia Italiana, XVI, Roma, 1932;
R. Maggio Serra, Andrea Gastaldi (1826/1889). Un pittore a Torino tra romanticismo e realismo, Torino, 1988;
E. Dellapiana, Gli Accademici dell’Albertina (Torino 1823-1884), Torino, 2002.
Further information:This monumental and penetrating charcoal drawing is part of a small series of extremely rare, life-size studies, by Andrea Gastaldi, who was one of the preeminent Academy painters and leading proponents of historical romanticism in 19th century Italy. The drawings are outstanding not only for their impressive size and the virtuosity of their execution, but also for their extraordinary pathos and remarkable historical significance.
The drawing, confidently sketched 'alla prima', clearly shows a successful compromise between the powerful and sensual naturalism of a study from life, probably in the artist's studio, and idealized canons, which are typical of academic art of the 19th century.
The present work is a study for a portion of The Siege of Tortona, a massive canvas commissioned by the newly-established Italian government and presented at the 1867 Exposition Universelle in Paris. Another preparatory drawing for another portion of the same famous composition, also from the same collection, was recently acquired by the National Gallery of Art, Washington.