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Antonio Zucchi, a pair of neoclassical drawings

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ANTONIO PIETRO FRANCESCO ZUCCHI (Venice 1726 – Rome 1795) A PAIR OF DRAWINGS:
VENUS ON A CHARIOT DRAGGED BY CUPIDS, GOING TO THE LEFT
VENUS ON A CHARIOT DRAGGED BY CUPIDS, GOING TO THE RIGHT
Pen and black ink, washed in two tones of grey, over light traces in black chalk. Both the drawings on laid paper, each 116 x 359 mm. Each drawing is pasted on thin cardboards. In turn, the cardboards are glued on canvas. Examining all the mounts it is evident that originally the two drawings were mounted horizontally together.
The two drawings are examples of the activity of Zucchi in England as a decorator. In this role he often collaborated with the Adam architects, the family of Scottish architects who were proponents of the neoclassical style in England. Another example of these drawings, which compares very well for tecnique and style with our two works, was sold at Christie’s, London in 2002: Sale 6578, British Art on Paper, 6 June 2002, London King Street, lot 7. Often this kind of drawings by Zucchi have been attributed to Angelica Kauffman, the wife of Zucchi, and this was the case of the mentioned drawing sold at Christie's, which was inscribed with Angelica's names.
My most grateful thanks to Dr. Bettina Baumgärtel for her precious help in cataloguing these two drawings.

Zucchi’s first teacher was his uncle Carlo, a painter of architecture and perspective views. He later studied historical painting with Francesco Fontebasso and Jacopo Amigoni. In 1756 he was elected as a member of the Accademia di Pittura e Scultura in Venice. Later he became a friend of the Adam brothers, the Scottish architects who were the most important proponents of the neoclassical style in England. Zucchi traveled to Rome and Naples with Robert Adam around 1759. In 1766 he joined Adam in London. He received many commissions while in England, often working as Adam's chief decorative painter. He decorated ceilings at the old Buckingham House, Kenwood, Newby Hall, Osterley Park, Nostell Priory, Caen Wood, Luton House and other fine residences in England. William Murray hired Zucchi to paint the ceiling of his Library. The work was completed in 1769 and is thought to have greatly influenced Zucchi's election as an Associate of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture in 1770. It's not well-documented how Zucchi met Angelica Kauffmann. Antonio, his brother Joseph (an engraver) and the Adam's brothers are said to have known the Kauffman family for years. Angelica's father hoped to see her married before he died and mutual friends suggested to Antonio that father and daughter might accept him as her husband. She had unfortunately married a fellow calling himself Count von Horn who turned out to be a fraud who had fooled all of London society with his false pedigree. While the marriage was not formally dissolved, he died in 1780 leaving her free to remarry. Zucchi and Kauffmann married in 1781. In the same year the couple moved to Rome, where they settle permanently. Zucchi happily managed his wife's career often ensuring she was well-stocked with painting supplies and obtaining commissions for her work. Much of the information we have today about Kauffmann's works are due to the meticulous records Zucchi maintained of her commissions. In Rome, Zucchi produced a number of landscape etchings of classical buildings or ancient ruins.

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