Edited by Luca Fiorentino

The drawings of Domenico Peruzzini are in part yet to discover, as there are few of his sheets in public collections, and those in private collections are rare as well; consequently little has been written about his drawing1.

Born in Castro Durante (now Urbania), his artistic career developed between his home city, Pesaro and Ancona. But in my opinion, it seems evident that Domenico must have undertaken some trips to Bologna and Rome, as there are strong traces recalling the work of a few artists working in those cities in his surviving paintings, engravings and drawings.

The sheets conserved at the Municipal Library of Urbania show a still young artist, while others suggest one of one perhaps too far along in years, but his ties to Simone Cantarini appear strong, especially with regard to prints. As Marina Cellini has noted, sheets by Domenico are often found signed, and this is one of them2.

This old master drawing is well-executed, with soft, sinuous lines where the draping requires them, and quick, sharp ones when needed to succinctly define clean contours. There is a masterful use of brushwork, guiding ink at various stages of dilution into the deep shadows of folds and the ethereal wings that seem almost without delineated contours. The drawing is by a mature, technically trained artist, directly corresponding to what Cantarini had postulated in the early part of the 17th century, but keeping pace with the times and with developments in Bologna involving the Sirani family3.

There seems to be an echo or Rome (perhaps a memory of his first maestro Gian Giacomo Pandolfi) in the folds and in the pose of the shoulders with the face turned towards the observer, recalling, for example, certain angels by Roncalli or the Zuccari brothers, but interpreted with an eye towards another great artist who made his name in the Marches: Federico Barocci. Peruzzini never sought to follow the naturalistic path he might have observed in Guerrieri or in Orazio Gentileschi’s Marches period efforts, but instead chose a classicising atmosphere that must also be associated, in his later life, with Giovan Domenico Cerrini.

Absorbed in playing chords on his lute, the angel gazes beyond the spectator, listening to music that we can only imagine.

1 On Domenico Peruzzini’s drawings see:

Angelo Ottolini, I disegni di Domenico Peruzzini, in ‘Arte Cristiana’, 700, 1984, LXXII, pp. 25-32;

Marina Cellini, Domenico Peruzzini, in Federico Barocci, Giovan Francesco Guerrieri, Domenico Peruzzini. Tre disegnatori delle Marche nella Collezione Ubaldini, writings by Marina Cellini, Bonita Cleri, Mauro Mei, Feliciano Paoli, John T. Spike, catalogue from the exhibition in Urbania, Palazzo Ducale July 23-September 11 1994, Urbino, 1994, pp. 131-134.

2 See the interesting contribution by Marina Cellini, cit., 1994, pp. 131- 134, in particular, see for comparison with this drawing the Studio per figura maschile sdraiata, entry 48, and the Figura femminile mitologica, entry 54, both from the collections of the Museo Civico di Urbania (Ubaldini Collection) which the scholar dates to the ’30s.

3 See also the catalogue entry by Simonetta Prosperi Valenti Rodinò on a Peruzzini drawing conserved at the Pinacoteca Nazionale in Bologna: Figure. Disegni dal Cinquecento all’Ottocento nella Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna, eds. Marzia Faietti and Alessandro Zacchi, Milan, 1998, entry 61 pp. 174-175.

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