Bernardo Belotto (Venice 1722 - Warsaw 1780)
Men playing Cards and Studies of Gondole and Sandali
numbered: 52, and inscribed on the backing: N348 Canaletto-
pen and brown ink
203 x 286 mm
Anon. Sale, Christie’s, New York: 11 January 1989 [lot 69 as by Canaletto]
Private Collection, Sicily [as by Canaletto]
C. Beddington, ‘Bernardo Bellotto and his circle in Italy, Part I: Not Canaletto but Bellotto’, The Burlington Magazine, CXLVI, No. 1219, October 2004, p. 670, note 37.
This drawing is page 52 from a sketchbook of which nine other sheets are known, some drawn on both sides, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (two); the Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin (two); the J. Paul Getty Museum; the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam; the Courtauld Institute and in private collections. They are distinguished by their numbering (between 11 and 60), to which is added the inscription ‘uolta’ when the sheet is drawn on both sides.
There seems no reason to doubt that all the sheets come from the same sketchbook, and Beddington, loc. cit., proposed Bellotto as the only possible candidate for the authorship of all the drawings, with the possible exception of the single figure studies, the inscriptions on them by Canaletto showing the master commenting on his pupil’s work and adding notes to assist their possible later use in the studio. The attribution has since been endorsed by Bozena Kowalczyk, and is generally accepted
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