Pen and brown ink, inscribed on the mount (Salvator Rosa); 360 x 230 mm.
The drawing is to be dated circa 1790, when Giani was in Rome and is very close, for technique and for the pre-romantic subject, to the Negromante, at the Uffizi, Florence (inv. n. 9896). In Rome Giani was deeply influenced by the Romantic classicism of Johann Heinrich Fuseli and the other Northern artists in his Roman circle, and by their predilection for visionary themes, as the rediscovery of Salvator Rosa as prototype of the romantic artist, rebellious and antisocial, depicted as one of the bandits of his paintings.
It's also interesting to note that this drawing by Giani has been surely inspired by an original drawing by Rosa at the Accademia di San Luca in Rome; see Michael Mahoney, The Drawings of Salvator Rosa, New York & London, 1977, no 68.3.
Born near Genoa, Giani was trained first in Pavia then in Bologna, where he studied with Domenico Pedrini and Ubaldo Gandolfi. In 1780 he moved to Rome, studying with Pompeo Batoni, Giuseppe Antolini and Christoph Unterberger at the Accademia di San Luca and beginning his independent career as a fresco painter. He absorbed influences ranging from ancient Greek and Roman art to Michelangelo's and Raphael's Renaissance classicism and the Romantic classicism of contemporaries such as Johann Heinrich Fuseli. Between 1784 and 1794 he lived in Bologna and Faenza, executing decorative commissions. In 1803 he was summoned to Paris. Until the fall of Napoleon, Giani divided his time between Paris and Italy; then he successfully survived the political changes and continued to execute decorative schemes in Rome. Giani worked in a distinctive Neo-classical style, creating sumptuous, richly coloured rooms, the paintings on walls and ceilings being surrounded with a wealth of antique ornament. He was a prodigiously talented draughtsman, who drew constantly, both out of doors and in the studio.