Mattia Jona La Portantina +39 02 8053315

(Milano 1754 - 1817)
HYMEN AND CUPID, 1807-1810

Pen and brown ink. Inscribed in pencil by a modern hand Amore e Imeneo at the lower center, and Andrea Appiani / 245-180 at the lower right on the recto. 248 x 180 mm.

Bernasconi collection, Milan; Christie’s, Rome, October, 1970, lot 95.

The present drawing connects with a lost painting of the same subject mentioned in Giuseppe Beretta’s book Le opere di Andrea Appiani, and dated by the author between 1807 and 1810. This indicates that our study was executed during the last phase of Appiani’s career, when he worked on the frescoes of the Palazzo Reale in Milan, having at that time taken on the great responsibilities involved in being superintendent of the entire decorative project. Beretta tells us that in these years Appiani created a series of paintings on mythological subjects: The Toilet of Venus, Juno attended by the Graces, Venus and Juno, Sleeping Jove wounded by Cupid, Juno in Jove’s Arms, and Hymen and Cupid. ( See G. Beretta, Le Opere di Andrea Appiani, Milan, 1848, pp. 263-264.



Mattia Jona

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ANDREA APPIANI (Milan 1754 - 1817)
Appiani is one of the premier Italian neoclassical painters. He studied with Carlo Maria Giudici, Giuliano Traballesi and Martin Knoller and was inspired by Mengs and Winckelmann. Most of his career was spent in his native Milan. Although he specialized in mythological subjects and created an impressive reputation with the 1789 cycle of Psyche in the Villa Reale in Monza, he also executed scenography for the La Scala theatre. In 1791 he traveled To Rome, Naples, Parma and Bologna. Appiani frequented liberal circles and befriended the intellectual elite of his time. He was linked with the Bonapartists, and Napoleon, arrived in Milan in 1796, appointed him as his official painter in Italy. His most important works were the cycle of celebrative frescoes in the Palazzo Reale in Milan, which include the Apotheosis of Napoleon and the large Napoleonic Frieze for the Sala delle Cariatidi, now almost entirely destroyed. In 1802 Appiani was nominated commissioner of spectacles and the fine arts and was among the first artists elected to the Brera after its reorganization in 1803. Appiani's style was not strictly neoclassical. His charm and treatment of light reflect his romantic tendencies, more apparent in his portraits. He was most active as a portraitist between 1800 and 1813, producing likenesses of personalities surrounding Napoleon.