Ambit of Luca Cambiaso (16th century) Assumption of the Virgin China, watercolours Measures: 750 x 165 mm The drawing is a study for the lower part of an Assumption of the Virgin. Kneeling around the now empty sarcophagus, we find the Apostles, some with their heads intent on observing the interior of the sepulchre, others looking upwards at the Virgin. Few lines define the bodies, the stroke is fast in some respects broken, heavy watercolours define shadows and volumes. The construction of volumes by square shapes, by cubic units, is typical of the drawing production of Luca Cambiaso (Moneglia 1527 - Escorial 1585). According to Ratti (1768, p34) Luca learned this practice from his father Giovanni 'who by himself came one day to invent the most ingenious rule of delineating the human body by cubes'. This practice was also adopted by his pupils: Paggi, Castello and Tavarone and by all other artists who wished to draw 'alla Cambiaso'. The author of the small drawing is therefore to be sought in this sphere, in mid-16th century Genoa. For instance, there is a trace of a fresco painted by Francesco Brea, Giovanni and Luca Cambiaso for the ceiling of the Church of Santa Maria del Canneto in 1547 that can certainly be related to the drawing in some way. Unfortunately, the fresco is poorly preserved and it is not possible to compare the left side of the composition in which the figures have faces characterised by expressions of grief, pathos and astonishment. The placement of the figures is, however, very similar. The drawing is applied in ancient times to only the four corners to a white sheet, then applied to only the corners to thick cerulean paper datable to the 18th century, finally applied again only to the corners to paper datable to the 19th century. Very well preserved, fresh, except for a vertical crease and two tears along the lower margin. On the 19th century support modern attribution in pencil: Luca Cambiaso, repeated on the verso.
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