An Artist and His Model

Felice Giani Italian

Not on view

Felice Gianni is one of the preeminent Italian exponents the Neo-Classical style that flourished in Europe in the early 18th century. This masterful drawing of a painter from classical antiquity in his studio may depict the celebrated Greek artist Apelles executing a portrait of the beautiful Campaspe, mistress of Alexander the Great. According to the Roman historian Pliny the Elder, Alexander was so taken with the result that he kept the portrait but awarded Campaspe herself to Apelles in gratitude. Just as Saint Luke, purported author of a portrait of the Virgin Mary, was a hagiographic archetype for artists, so too was Apelles an apposite, classical model for the painter's profession.

An Artist and His Model, Felice Giani (Italian, San Sebastiano Curone, near Alessandria 1758–1823 Rome), Pen and brown ink, brush and brown wash, highlighted with white, on gray-brown washed paper

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