This year, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. purchased eight drawings by several of the most accomplished Genoese artists. The Italian draftsmanship during the school’s golden age, from around 1600 through the second quarter of the 18th century, represents one of the high achievements of Baroque style. Genoese drawings tend toward elaborate technique, with images often superimposed and built up. Combined with the Gallery’s existing holdings, including several works acquired in recent years, these new acquisitions establish the finest and most representative collection of Genoese drawings in the United States.
These works include a sheet of studies (1610s) by Aurelio Lomi (1556–1623); a compositional study for a major altarpiece by Giulio Benso (1592–1668); a 1650s landscape by Bartolomeo Biscaino (1629–1657); the Meeting of Jacob and Rachel (1670s), a drawing by Domenico Piola (1627–1703); is unusually subtle in composition, modulation and feeling. A preparatory drawing by Giovanni Andrea Carlone (1639–1697); Saint Michael and the Rebel Angels (c. 1682), an autonomous work of grand scale and high finish by Gregorio De Ferrari (1647–1726), is the most spectacular drawing in the group and the finest of its kind outside the Musei Civici of Genoa. Finally, an expressionistic Baptism of Christ (1720s) by Alessandro Magnasco (1667–1749), from an album of figure studies, became part of the Gallery’s collection. These drawings will be part of the Gallery’s upcoming exhibition, La Superba: Art in Genoa, 1600–1750, on view beginning May 3, 2020.