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LUIGI SABATELLI
(Florence 1772 - Milan 1850)
LA CONGIURA DEI PAZZI. LORENZO E GIULIANO DE' MEDICI ASSALITI NEL DUOMO DI FIRENZE

Black chalk, 495 x 765 mm.
PROVENANCE: Damiano Pernati (1769-1841)
See the original label.

The friendship between Sabatelli and the nobleman Damiano Pernati (1769-1841) from Novara, dates back to the artist’s stay in Rome. Pernati introduced his friend to his entourage which included Canova, Angelica Kauffmann, Raffaello Morghen and Gaspare Landi.  Together the two artists created a series of etchings, Pensieri diversi di Luigi Sabatelli. Pubblicati ed incisi da Damiano Pernati, Rome, 1795. Our drawing was in fact described as follows by the historian Leone Tettoni, who saw it in the Pernati collection: ...lo stupendo disegno della Congiura de' Pazzi...,.See Il cavaliere D. Damiano Pernati incisore all’acquaforte e la sua famiglia patrizia novarese. Cenni genealogico-biografico-storici di Leone Tettoni, Turin, 1874.

The importance of this drawing, besides its format and subject, lies in its technique, in that Sabatelli rarely used black chalk. Throughout, the chalk is applied in hatched lines of three different tonal intensities, allowing him to create three distinct levels of depth in the drawing.

In the left foreground we see a group of those attending mass, mainly women, terrified of what is happening.

At the centre Bernardo Bandini is attacking Lorenzo, surrounded by his men, while Francesco de’ Pazzi, dagger in hand, furiously stabs Giuliano; he is lying on the ground, having already been struck by Bandini.

Finally, in the background, Cardinal Raffaele Riario, who was officiating the mass, is pushed and isolated from the central scene by the conspirators.

REFERENCES
Il cavaliere D. Damiano Pernati incisore all’acquaforte e la sua famiglia patrizia novarese. Cenni genealogico-biografico-storici di Leone Tettoni, Turin, 1874.
Cenni biografici sul cav. prof. Luigi Sabatelli scritti da lui medesimo e raccolti dal figlio Gaetano, pittore (a cura di C. Stroppa Pedrazzi), Milan 1900.

Sabatelli was the most talented of the Tuscan painters of the generation after Pietro Benvenuti. He was born in the house of Marchese Pier Roberto Capponi, in Florence, while his own father was in domestic service there. The Marchese Capponi was Sabatelli's early sponsor, financing his education at the Florentine Academy and his sojourns in Rome and Venice. In 1808 Luigi Sabatelli was appointed to the chair of painting at the Brera Academy in Milan. There he remained over forty years, although he continued to carry out commissions in Tuscany. During his mature years, Sabatelli established himself as a decorator and fresco painter, with numerous public and private commissions. Sabatelli was a fine painter and one of the premier pre-romantic draftsmen of nineteenth century Italy. He was also an accomplished etcher. See Beatrice Paolozzi Strozzi, Luigi Sabatelli, disegni e incisioni, catalogue of the exhibition at the Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe degli Uffizi, Florence, 1978.

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