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Pelagio Palagi, the Olympus

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PELAGIO PALAGI (Bologna 1775 – Turin 1860) THE OLYMPUS
Red chalk, 356 x 466 mm. The sheet has been mounted onto a cardboard support. In all likelihood the design is to be dated after 1832, during the artist's activities for Carlo Alberto, in Turin. It is certain that the Olympian themes had to be particularly pleasing to the king because he commisioned at least four painted versions: one in Palazzo Reale, commissioned to Palagi around 1839 but placed in its seat, after laborious gestation, only shortly before the painter's death; three others executed instead by Bellosio, two in Racconigi and one in Pollenzo. For a comparison with the painting of Palagi Palazzo Reale see: Aa. Vv. Cultura figurativa e architettonica negli stati del Re di Sardegna, 1773-1861, exhibition catalog (3 volumes), Turin 1980, no. 413.

Architect, portrait painter, furniture designer and collector, Pelagio Palagi at the age of twenty was collaborating with Antonio Basoli, in Bologna. With Felice Giani he frequented the nocturnal drawing sessions at the house of the engraver Francesco Rosaspina. In 1802 he studied at the Bolognese Accademia. Pelagio Palagi moved to Rome in 1806, continuing his studies at the Accademia di San Luca under Camuccini. In 1815 he moved to Milan, where he remained until 1832. There, he established a private school of painting and architecture and was elected to the Brera Academy. Palagi was called to Turin in 1832 by King Carlo Alberto to direct the decoration of the royal residences. At the monarch's death he worked for his son, Vittorio Emanuele II.

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