Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Design for Mirror Frame

Artist:
Giovanni Battista Natali III (Italian, Pontremoli, Tuscany 1698–1765 Naples)
Date:
ca. 1720–40
Medium:
Pen and brown ink, brush with gray and brown wash, over traces of graphite or black chalk
Dimensions:
sheet: 13 3/4 x 8 in. (34.9 x 20.3 cm)
Classifications:
Drawings, Ornament & Architecture
Credit Line:
The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha Whittelsey Fund, 1949
Accession Number:
49.63.277
Not on view
This beautiful design for a mirror was made by the Italian artist Giovanni Battista Natali III. He has drawn one half of the mirror in full detail, and only suggested certain details for the other half where changes to the design could be considered. The mirror is rendered in a late Baroque style, which places it relatively early in Natali’s career. His later designs show the emergence of the new Rococo style which culminates in his involvement in the production of the so-called Salottino di Porcellana (Small Porcelain Room) for the Queen of Naples, Maria Amalia of Saxony. Not much is known about Natali’s career, which can partly be credited to the fact that he was active in various art disciplines in different cities throughout Italy, making it difficult to trace his oeuvre. He was, moreover, also involved in the production of artworks of an ephemeral nature, such as set pieces for festivals and the theater which were usually destroyed after they had served their purpose. The 18th-century Italian inscription on this sheet attributes its design to the Venetian artist Carlo de’ Nobili, demonstrating that even though in this case the work of art has survived, its author was forgotten relatively soon after its creation.
Inscription: Annotated boldly by eighteenth-century hand in pen and dark brown ink toward left border: "Spec:o [specchio] di Venezia di Carlo dei Nobili 1738."
Vendor: Bruscoli (Italian, Florence)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Living in Style: Five Centuries of Interior Design from the Collection of Drawings and Prints," June 17, 2013–September 9, 2013.

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