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Alessio de Marchis, view of Ariccia


ALESSIO DE MARCHIS (Naples 1684 - Perugia 1752) VIEW OF ARICCIA (ante 1740)
Brush and grey ink, over traces in black chalk, heightened with white; 271 x 414 mm.
Ariccia (latin: Aricia) is today a town and comune in the Metropolitan City of Rome. It is in the Alban Hills of the Lazio region and could be considered an extension of Rome's southeastern suburbs. Aricia was definitively conquered by the Romans in the 4th century BC and became the first main posting station on the overland journey from Rome towards southern Italy.
In 1661 the city passed to the powerful Chigi family, who rebuilt the splendid Palazzo Savelli Chigi in the main square. The Chigi Pope Alexander VII lived for long periods in Ariccia and drastically changed its character, with important contributions from Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
Our drawing does not show the expansion of the Palazzo Chigi building made in 1740 by Prince Augusto Chigi. It must therefore be dated before that year.
For his drawings de Marchis often used red chalk, occasionally alternating with black chalk, and thick brown washes of a burnt Siena tonality. The difference in technique of our drawing compares well with the View of the Pincio's slopes at the Gabinetto Nazionale delle Stampe in Rome (inv. F.C. 125207). That drawing was published by Marco Chiarini in 1971, and described as 'Uno dei disegni piĆ¹ delicati del de Marchis'. See Marco Chiarini, Vedute romane, disegni dal XVI al XVIII secolo, catallogue of the exhibition at the Farnesina alla Lungara, Rome 1971; cat. no. 72, illustrated. See also Marco Chiarini, Alessio de Marchis as a Draughtsman, in Master drawings, V (1967), 3, pp. 289 ss.

Alessio de Marchis received his formation in the circle of Salvator Rosa. When still a very young man he worked as a landscape painter in Rome for the Albani and Ruspoli families. According to Lanzi ' in order to paint fires more realistically he set fire to a haystack' with the result that he was put into prison and afterwards had to leave Rome. Once again the patronage of the Albani came to the painter's aid: he went to Urbino where he received the commission to decorate the Albani palace. His activity from then onwards was divided between the Marches and Umbria.

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