FELICE GIANI (San Sebastiano Curone 1758 - Rome 1823) LANDSCAPE WITH VILLA AND FOUNTAIN: VILLA MALTA IN ROME
Black chalk, on wove paper. 403 x 296 mm. Top right corner made up.
Giorgio Marini kindly pointed to me that the Villa portrayed in this drawing is Villa Malta, in Rome. From the second half of the eighteenth century Villa Malta became a point of support of the German community in Rome. In the early nineteenth century the villa was inhabited by the poetess Frederike Brun, and William von Humboldt, the ambassador to Rome of the King of Prussia; so that it became an intellectual center, frequented by the painters Camuccini, Koch and Angelica Kauffman and the sculptors Canova and Thorvaldsen. I link here an image of the Villa as painted by the Norwegian Johan Christian Clausen Dahl in 1821.
The drawing compares very well with the album, consisting of 22 sheets, preserved in the Biblioteca Civica, Forlì (Fondo Piancastelli). That album contains landscapes drawn by Giani on the Apennines, on the road going from Faenza to Marradi, traveled by him with a few friends in 1794. Those drawings, far from simple topography, transfigure the landscapes of the Apennines in the exaltation of the natural sublime. Our drawing is certainly to be dated to the same period, and probably represents other locations in the same area.
See Anna Ottani Cavina, Felice Giani 1758-1823 e la cultura di fine secolo, 1999, 2 volumes; volume 2, pp. 711-715, cat. no. A1.