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Giovanni Battista Cipriani, head of an angel

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GIOVANNI BATTISTA CIPRIANI (Florence 1727 - London 1788) HEAD OF A MAN IN PROFILE TO THE RIGHT, POSSIBLY AN ANGEL
Pastel, on wove paper; 378 x 273 mm.
As kindly Harry Cayton indicates, the artist has used the model of this head in several paintings, including the Annunciation in Clare College Cambridge.

A painter, engraver and designer, Cipriani was one of the first exponents of Neoclassicism in England and played an important part in directing 18th-century English artistic taste. Born in Florence, Cipriani first studied with Ignatius Hugford, a Florentine artist of English descent, and then under Anton Domenico Gabbiani. He spent the years 1750-3 in Rome, where he encountered nascent Neoclassicism and met members of the English colony there. The architect Sir William Chambers and the sculptor Joseph Wilton took him to England in 1755. There he was employed in the decoration of many public buildings and private houses and in some cases designed such architectural details as plasterwork, woodwork, and stonecarving. He was also a prolific draftsman of classical and allegorical subjects. Cipriani was a founder member of the Royal Academy, and designed its diploma, which was engraved by his friend Francesco Bartolozzi.

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