Edited by Luca Fiorentino

The unmistakable Ubaldo style, so sharp and vibrant, calligraphic and decisive, is fully evident in this splendid sheet. His use of nuanced colour and chiaroscuro are enhanced by the skilful brushwork in juxtaposed washes. The marked chiaroscuro emphasises the tonal element of the intonsa paper in the white sections.

As Nicholas Turner noted with regard to similar works, the edge of the drawing, which the artist uses by design, has a dual function. Technically, it serves to leave a part of the paper that is not ‘overwhelmed’ by watercolour wash, and is thus not curled by contact with water. Secondly, and no less importantly, it frames the drawing, making it stand out, and at the same time rendering it fully autonomous, on a par with a painting1.

In fact, many of Ubaldo’s drawings in public and private collections have this sort of framing, as well as the same calligraphic style, wonderfully embellished by watercolour washes.

The former attribution to Annibale Carracci is understandable, and is often found in relation to Gandolfi works. The high quality of the Gandolfi family’s drawings engendered much confusion in the past, to the point that their drawings were associated with the most important Bolognese artist of the 17th century.

1 The white border is also thought to have some reference to the sphere of graphics and printing, as this space circumscribing the work is in fact often evident in prints.

On this type of drawing see: Nicholas Turner, La fusione dei media: la simbiosi tra disegno e pittura nell’opera dei Gandolfi, in Gaetano e Ubaldo Gandolfi. Opere scelte, ed. Donatella Biagi Maino, Cento (Ferrara), auditorium di San Lorenzo April 13-June 16, 2002, Turin, 2002, pp. 45-48.

On Ubaldo’s drawings see also: Donatella Biagi Maino, Ubaldo Gandolfi, Turin, 1990; I Gandolfi. Disegni dalla raccolta Certani alla Fondazione Giorgio Cini, ed. Marco Riccomini, Venice, 2018.

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