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Giovanni Battista Cipriani (1727-85)

Bartolozzi asleep c. 1770

Pencil | 20.0 x 15.3 cm (sheet of paper) | RCIN 913294

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  • A drawing of Francesco Bartolozzi asleep in a chair. He is turned to the left, with one leg folded beneath the other, and his hands clasped together.

    A similarly charming drawing of Giovanni Battista Cipriani (RCIN 913295) was no doubt done from the life at the same date. Together they testify to the affectionate relationship between the two artists, Cipriani engrossed in the act of painting, Bartolozzi asleep in a chair.

    Francesco Bartolozzi and Giovanni Battista Cipriani were close contemporaries, both born and trained in Florence, Bartolozzi as a draughtsman and painter of miniatures and watercolours, Cipriani as a painter in oils. In 1745 Bartolozzi moved to Venice to work as a reproductive engraver and in the early 1760s George III’s librarian Richard Dalton invited him to England, initially to engrave plates after the king’s newly-acquired drawings by Guercino. Meanwhile, Cipriani moved to Rome in 1750, where he became friends with the architects William Chambers (RCIN 64029) and Joseph Wilton, and in 1755 he travelled to England with them. Both Bartolozzi and Cipriani flourished in London and were among the founder members of the Royal Academy of Arts in 1768. Bartolozzi engraved the Academy’s first diploma to the designs of Cipriani, and they collaborated throughout the 1770s over the production of numerous decorative prints of mythological and allegorical subject matter.

    Text adapted from Portrait of the Artist, London, 2016
    Provenance

    Probably purchased by the Prince of Wales from Colnaghi on 22 September 1809, along with a drawing of Cipriani by Bartolozzi (RL 13295), the two costing £3, 3s in total. Royal Archives Invoice 27825

  • Medium and techniques

    Pencil

    Measurements

    20.0 x 15.3 cm (sheet of paper)