Napoleon: Antiquity to EmpireLondon
Circus Games in Ancient Rome, 1790s
ExhibitionsBrescia, Palazzo Martinengo, Da Hayez a Boldini: anime e volti della pittura italiana dell’Ottocento, 21 January–11 June 2017
After studying in his native Milan and then in Rome, Luigi Ademollo was invited to Florence to decorate the Teatro della Pergola, which has since been destroyed. He settled in Florence and remained there until his death and was widely regarded as one of the foremost neoclassical masters of the Tuscan school. In Florence he worked in the chapel of the Palazzo Pitti and in various other rooms of the same palace, as well as in the Basilica della Santissima Annunziata, and in the Pucci and Capponi palaces. He also worked for churches in Bergamo, Brescia, Lucca, Livorno, Pisa, and Siena. Ademollo primarily painted frescoes of scenes from the Old and New Testaments and from ancient history, and his abilities as a decorator were accompanied by considerable literary culture; his son Agostino Ademollo (1799–1841) would go on to be a novelist.
The present painting typifies Ademollo’s scenography, which featured tight clusters of figures set within grand architecture, and compares well the artist’s episodes from Roman history, especially his scenes from the life of Scipio in Palazzo Venturi-Gallerani, Siena, executed in 1793–94. A drawing in a private collection relates closely to the present work, depicting a very similar group of figures set in a Roman arena (see Adriano Cera, Disegni, acquarelli, tempere di artisti italiani: dal 1770 ca. al 1830 ca., Bologna, 2002, vol. 1, fig 8).
The artwork described above is subject to changes in availability and price without prior notice.