Colnaghi Foundation Journal 03 - Page 135

Due donne virili: Laura Martinozzi, Angelica Kauffman, and a rediscovered drawing by Andrea Lanzani
Due donne virili: Laura Martinozzi, Angelica Kauffman, and a rediscovered drawing by Andrea Lanzani
A visual commemoration of the passing of so illustrious
a woman would not have been unusual, although no libro
di presenze or visitors’ book exists in the archive at San
Carlino recording this event. Inscriptions on the recto
and verso of the sheet do, however, identify the subject
and author as follows: “….. madre di Francesco secondo Dca …
di Modena, fatta da Al. in Roma [?a San] Carlino …….” (mother
of Francesco II, Duke of Modena, drawn by AL in Rome
at San Carlino); and on the reverse restating the fact, “….
Duchessa di Modena [?dissegnata] da AL. … alla Chiesa di S.
Carlino a monte cavallo …..” (The Duchess of Modena
drawn by AL … at the Church of San Carlino at Monte
Cavallo …). The artist “A.L” must surely be Andrea
Lanzani (ca. 1650-1712), who had trained in Milan but
came to Rome in 1675 where he worked under Carlo
Maratta and found new direction in his work. He was
peripatetic, and although his location in July 1687 is not
documented, this drawing suggests that he was in Rome at
this date.18 The studies on the verso of the sheet are clearly
Marattesque in idiom and bear the hallmarks of Lanzani.
Although it has not been possible to make any precise
correlation with Lanzani’s finished works, the angel’s
head, with its widely set eyes, protuberant nose and
centrally-parted softly waving hair, bears semblance
to many attendant angels in his work: for example,
the angel situated in the top right of the Triumph of the
Cross in the Volta di Santa Cecilia, Como (1688); that
in the top left of the Assumption of the Virgin, Santissima
Annunziata, Dosso del Liro (1689, fig. 5); and also the
angel in San Carlo Giving Communion to Plague Victims,
Santuario dell’Addolorata, Rho (1684, fig. 6). The
study of hands was clearly intended for the holding of a
musical instrument, such as a violin, or possibly a scroll
(as in the angel holding a violin in the Assumption of the
Virgin, Dosso del Liro, or the Sibyl’s hands in Mary at
the Sepulchre in the Cappella della Veronica, Certosa di
Pavia (fig. 7). The study for draperies around a bended
knee are generic, but cross-hatched in a Marattesque
manner. The abbreviated form of the foot, however,
with an indentation for the toe, also features in
Fig. 5 / Andrea Lanzani, San
Carlo Giving Communion to
Plague Victims (detail), 1684,
oil on canvas, Rho, Santuario
Fig. 6 / Andrea Lanzani,
Assumption of the Virgin
(detail), 1689, fresco,
Dosso del Liro, Santissima
Fig. 7 / Andrea Lanzani, Mary
at the Sepulchre (detail),
before 1672, fresco, Certosa di
Pavia, Cappella della Veronica.
Fig. 8 / Andrea Lanzani, Study
for a Male Figure (detail), ca.
1680, red chalk with white
heightening, 45.6 x 29.8 cm,
Milan, Biblioteca Ambrosiana.
Lanzani’s preparatory drawing for Joseph in the Rest on
the Flight into Eg ypt (Lecco, Oratorio di San Giuseppe),
now in the Biblioteca Ambrosiana (F232, no. 247),
where many of Lanzani’s drawings now reside (fig. 8).
The sheet is a useful addition to Lanzani’s oeuvre, but it
has attained a poetic resonance through Kauffman’s
ownership. 19 Martinozzi and Kauffman, though very
different women, both strove to succeed on their own
terms, driven by humility and self-improvement. But
it is in Lanzani’s posthumous drawing of the Duchess
that we find the ultimate expression of the humility of
the human condition.


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