Ferdinando Albertolli (Italian, 1781-1844), Decorative Design with a Bird’s Nest and Rabbits among Scrolling Foliage
Ferdinando Albertolli (Italian, 1781-1844)
Decorative Design with a Bird’s Nest and Rabbits among Scrolling Foliage
Gouache on paper
Signed l.r. recto: Ferdinando Albertolli fece 1834
Inscribed verso: A.S.A.I.R./ L’Arciduchessa Viceregina/ Ferdinando Albertolli Professore/ d’ornamenti nell’ S.R. Accademia/ delle Belle Arte in Milano/ Umilia in attestato di profondo esequio.
Paper size: approx. 8 x 10 5/8 in.
Frame size: 15 1/2 x 18 1/4 in.
The Albertolli family of artists originated in Switzerland but were active in northern Italy during the eighteenth and first half of the nineteenth century. They were particularly noted for their teaching abilities and between 1776 and 1844 the chair of design at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in Milan, was held by successive members of the family. The Albertolli specialized in the design and depiction of architectural ornamentation.
Following the discovery of Herculaneum and Pompeii during the mid-eighteenth century, interest in classical architecture and its decoration saw a resurgence. The Renaissance had already brought about its revival. The Albertolli family were among the leading artists to diseminate knowledge of classical architecture particularly in such publications as Giocondo Albertolli’s Corso elementare di ornamenti architettonici. Always championing the unity of architecture, applied decoration and furnishing, their work is believed to have inspired such architects as the Frenchmen, Charles Percier, Pierre-Francois Fontaine and Moreau.
Ferdinando Albertolli was the nephew and son-in-law of Giocondo Albertolli, with whom he trained as an engraver, designer and architect. After further study at Milan’s Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera he was awarded first prize for design in 1806. Like the rest of his family he was a devoted teacher and first found employment at the high school in Verona, in1804, before becoming a professor of design at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Venice during 1807. Five years later he succeeded his uncle as professor of design at the Brera, where he remained as a teacher until his death.
Ferdinando’s considerable skill is readily apparent in this beautiful work. His abilities as both a designer and an artist are magnificently displayed in the execution of the composition, attention to detail and vibrant use of color. The piece is wholly representative of the classical ideals inspired by the discovery of Herculaneum and Pompeii and championed by such famous architects and designers as the Albertolli family and the British, Robert Adam.