The Rest on the Flight into Egypt
26.2 cm x 38.7 cm (10 5/16 in. x 15 1/4 in.)
Paolo Gerolamo Piola
(Genoa, 1666 - 1724, Genoa)
Medium and Support:
Brush and brown ink with brown and gray washes and white heightening (partly oxidized) over black chalk on gray-green antique laid paper, laid down
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, The Suida-Manning Collection, 2017
This drawing represents a culmination of numerous currents in Genoese draftsmanship. Of extremely high finish and inherent attractiveness, it is manifestly an autonomous work in the tradition that began with Luca Cambiaso. In its painterly conception and handling, such a drawing descends more specifically from Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione’s exploration of the boundary between the media. Formally, the composition is an especially fine example of the translation of the habits of monumental decoration—broad distribution of motif, balanced structure of values, steady pulse of rhythm—into the intimate scale and materials of drawing.
Although this is one of the best-known Genoese drawings in the Suida-Manning Collection, its attribution has alternated. Most often, because of its repertory relationship to works by Domenico Piola and no doubt its sheer quality, it has been assigned to the elder Piola. The more agitated surface of draperies, the more eccentric drawing in profiles, and the sharper modulation of tone reflect the formative influence of Gregorio de Ferrari. That these tendencies have been disciplined according to academic principle reflects the younger Piola’s long study with Carlo Maratta in Rome and then his collaboration with various sculptors. Purely Genoese, entirely within the seicento, the style of Domenico is different in both appearance and essence. The Blanton contains over 30 works of art by several members of the prolific studio known as Casa Piola.