Anton Raphael Mengs (1728-1779) was in Genoa only twice; for a few days in 1770, in 1777 for just two. During the first stay, he accepted to portray one of the most prominent and cultivated local aristocratic ladies, Tommasina Balbi, the wife of Giovanni Battista Cambiaso, who became doge in 1771. Carlo Giuseppe Ratti (1737-1795), the well-known peintre-connoisseur (a Mengs’ student, friend and then first biographer), was his guide in visiting the city. Linked to the Cambiaso family, Ratti had the opportunity to follow the execution steps of the painting. Admired in 1770 by the whole city as a portrait “that doesn’t seem painted, but alive”, it was soon confined in the private rooms of the Cambiaso palaces, and became invisible. Since then, it has always been cited, but never seen, by scholars. This paper illustrates and studies it for the first time, emphasizes its formal qualities and assesses the role that it had – or had not – in the history of Genoese painting of the last 18th century.

Mengs a Genova: il Ritratto di Tommasina Balbi Cambiaso, "che non dipinto, ma piuttosto vivo rassembra"

C. Di Fabio
2017

Abstract

Anton Raphael Mengs (1728-1779) was in Genoa only twice; for a few days in 1770, in 1777 for just two. During the first stay, he accepted to portray one of the most prominent and cultivated local aristocratic ladies, Tommasina Balbi, the wife of Giovanni Battista Cambiaso, who became doge in 1771. Carlo Giuseppe Ratti (1737-1795), the well-known peintre-connoisseur (a Mengs’ student, friend and then first biographer), was his guide in visiting the city. Linked to the Cambiaso family, Ratti had the opportunity to follow the execution steps of the painting. Admired in 1770 by the whole city as a portrait “that doesn’t seem painted, but alive”, it was soon confined in the private rooms of the Cambiaso palaces, and became invisible. Since then, it has always been cited, but never seen, by scholars. This paper illustrates and studies it for the first time, emphasizes its formal qualities and assesses the role that it had – or had not – in the history of Genoese painting of the last 18th century.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11567/894882
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