Varii Capricci, e Paesi inventati, e disegnati dal celebre Gio. Benedetto Castiglione ... tratti dal raccolta Zanettiana

Various artists/makers

Not on view

The prints have at times been attributed to Zanetti. A letter written by Francesco Algarotti on January 16, 1759, congratulates Zanetti for his success at producing etchings after two of Zanetti's Castiglione drawings at his advanced age. These are the 'Chiron Teaching Music' and 'Chiron Teaching Alchemy. The 'Memoria' of Zompini, that was inserted in the 1785 edition of the 'Arti che vanno per via,' states that Zanetti recognized the merit of Zompini and employed him in various tasks, including working on some etchings based on drawings by Castiglione. According to this account, in order to make the collection more numerous, Zompini invented some new designs in the manner of Castiglione. The title page, produced almost thirty years later, states that the prints were etched by Zompini. The style is similar to his "Arti" but are nowhere signed by him. Some of the plates (5,7,10,12) bear the signature of Castiglione, written in such a way that it seems to have been copied from the original drawing. A number of the prints (1,2,3,10,12) bear Zanetti's monogram and a date, either 1758 or 1759. There have been various interpretations of this evidence. Many scholars in the past (see Pellegrini 1997 for attribution history) attributed the prints to Zanetti, because of the monogram and the letter of Algarotti. More recently, scholars favor Zamboni because of the style, the title page, and the 'Memoria'. Sopher suggests that Zanetti added his monogram as well as dedications to friends and family that appear in the second state in order to pass off the prints as his own, as a sort of joke. Algarotti would have been one of the recipients who were fooled. Bozzolato (1978) suggested that Zanetti began the work but then turned it over to Zompini, 'without doubt the true author.' However, if Zanetti began the work, might not some of the prints be by him? Alternatively or additionally, might some of the inventions in the style of Castiglione be by him? We know he produced intermediate drawings from his Parmigianino drawings on which he based his woodcuts. Perhaps he translated the Castiglione drawings into a more linear form before Zompini etched them.

The most attractive print in the series 'Chiron Teaching Music to Achilles' bears a monogram of Castiglione as well as Zanetti's monogram and the date of 1758. This is one of the prints Zanetti sent to Algarotti, implying it was his own work. Only two first states of this print are known. One, which was earlier with the dealer Faltieri in Florence, was sold at auction at Bassenge, December 2004. Another is in the Rijkmuseum. In the second state, this print had a dedication from Zanetti to his cousin, Anton Maria Zanetti the Younger. Zompini was interested in the subject--he had painted 'Thetis Entrusting Achilles to Chiron' in around 1736. A drawing in reverse of this etching exists in the Hamburg Kunsthalle.

Varii Capricci, e Paesi inventati, e disegnati dal celebre Gio. Benedetto Castiglione ... tratti dal raccolta Zanettiana, Gaetano Gherardo Zompini (Italian, Nervesa, near Treviso 1700–1778 Venice), Etchings, many third state

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