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Drawing - The Launch of a Galleon
  • The Launch of a Galleon
    Filippo Napoletano Teodoro Filippo de Liagno, born 1587 - died 1629
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The Launch of a Galleon

  • Object:

    Drawing

  • Place of origin:

    Florence (made)

  • Date:

    1617-1622 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Filippo Napoletano Teodoro Filippo de Liagno, born 1587 - died 1629 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pen and wash drawing

  • Credit Line:

    Presented by the Art Fund (Max Harvey Bequest)

  • Museum number:

    E.863-2010

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, room WS, case R, shelf 39, box R

Physical description

Drawing in pen and brown wash over black chalk showing a galleon being launched from the arsenal in Livorno.

Place of Origin

Florence (made)

Date

1617-1622 (made)

Artist/maker

Filippo Napoletano Teodoro Filippo de Liagno, born 1587 - died 1629 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Pen and wash drawing

Dimensions

Height: 292 mm, Width: 534 mm

Object history note

Acquired by the Hon. A.E. Gathorne-Hardy sometime prior to 1902; Geoffrey Gathorne-Hardy; Robert Gathorne-Hardy, his sale Sotheby's, 28, April, 1976 Lot 34 (as Stefano della Bella), bt. Robin Symes; presented by the Art Fund (Max Harvey Bequest).

Historical significance: Filippo di Liagno, called Il Napoletano (c.1587-1629) worked as a painter and engraver. He worked in Naples from 1600-1613 and then Rome before being summoned in 1617 by Cosimo II de' Medici to Florence. There he worked closely with the engraver Jacques Callot. Whilst in Tuscany he began sketching in the countryside. He developed a naturalistic style of landscape drawing using wash to contrast the effects of sunlight and shade, and produced small realistic landscape paintings and macabre supernatural scenes peopled with tiny figures. At this time Liagno also made a number of drawings of ships at the Arsenal in Livorno, including E.863-2010.

The drawing was previously attributed to Stefano della Bella (1620-1664) when it was in the Gathorne-Hardy collection. The attribution to Filippo di Liagno was made by Marco Chiarini in 1976 (See: Sothebys, 28 April 1976, no.34. The drawing was catalogued as by Filippo di Liagno and the sales catalogue states 'The present attribution is due to Marco Chiarini'). The drawing was exhibited as by Liagno in 1983, and appears in Chiarini's catalogue raisonné of the artist (See: Museo Capodimonte Naples, Civiltà del Seicento a Napoli, 1983, no.3.16; Marco Chiarini, Teodoro Filippo di Liagno, called Filippo Napoletano, 2007, No.386, repr.).

This drawing shows a galleon surrounded by a host of tiny figures overshadowed by the tall walls of the arsenal of Livorno (Leghorn). Figures at either side turn windlasses to heave the looming vessel forwards, while ropes stretch from it to the bottom centre-right where boats (not shown) help to pull it down the slipway. Barrels are attached to the underside of its hull for stability during launching. Chiarini relates The Launch of a Galleon to a group of sketches at the Louvre which include several of galleons (See: Chiarini, Teodoro Filippo di Liagno, called Filippo Napoletano, 2007, p. 205).

Livorno had been developed by Cosimo II de' Medici's father, Ferdinand I (1549-1609) as the main port of Tuscany. One of Liagno's largest and most spectacular drawings, The Launch of a Galleon demonstrates the importance of commerce and naval power to the Medici regime in the seventeenth century (See: Chiarini, Teodoro Filippo di Liagno, called Filippo Napoletano, 2007, p. 205). There is a smaller pen and ink sketch, measuring 150 x 205 mm, at the British Museum (Inv. Ff 2-153). This may be a preparatory sketch for the E.863-2010 (See: Chiarini, Teodoro Filippo di Liagno, called Filippo Napoletano, 2007, p. 289). This larger and more finished drawing makes liberal use of wash to capture the deep shadows cast by the ship and the surrounding walls of the arsenal. It demonstrates Liagno's skill in dramatic effects of perspective and lighting, as well as something of his taste for the macabre.

Descriptive line

Drawing, pen and brown ink and brown wash over black chalk, 'The Launch of a Galleon', Filippo di Liagno, called il Napoletano (1587-1629), Florence, ca. 1617-1622.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Descriptive catalogue of Drawings by Old Masters in the possession of the Hon. Geoffrey Gathorne-Hardy, London, 1902, No.16.
Loan Exhibition of Drawings by Old Masters from the Collection of Mr. Geoffrey Gathorne-Hardy, Colnaghi and Ashmolean Museum, Oxford , 1971, no.32.
Sothebys, Catalogue of Highly Important Old Master Drawings from the Gathorne-Hardy Collection sold by Order of the Executors, Part I of the Italian and French Schools, 28 April 1976, Lot 34.
Civiltà del Seicento a Napoli, Museo di Capodimonte, Naples, 1983-4, no.3.16.
Marco Chiarini, Teodoro Filippo di Liagno, called Filippo Napoleta no, 2007, No.386.

Materials

Ink; Wash; Chalk; Paper

Subjects depicted

Arsenal; Boats; Windlasses; Galleon; Figure

Categories

Drawings

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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