Pietro Giacomo Palmieri (Bologna 1737 – 1804 Turin)
River Landscape with Fishermen
Pen and brown ink, watermark herm (?) over a letter ‘M’, 280 x 421 mm (11 x 16.6 inch)
- Possibly Sotheby's, London, 30 June 1986, lot 151, as 'Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, called il Guercino'
- Private collection, United Kingdom
Active as both a painter and printmaker, Pietro Giacomo Palmieri was a pupil of Ercole Graziani at the Accademia Clementina in Bologna. His earliest known works are a series of landscape prints published in 1760. Palmieri soon established a reputation as an engraver, working in a manner that reflected the influence and inspiration, in terms of both style and composition, of such 17th-century masters as Jacques Callot, Stefano Della Bella, Salvator Rosa and Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione. Similar stylistic tendencies can be found in his drawings.
Palmieri was a member of the academies of Bologna and Parma, and taught at the latter. He spent some years in Paris in the 1770s, and also visited England, Spain and Switzerland before settling in Turin in 1778. There he worked for the Savoy court, both as an artist and as curator of the Royal collection of drawings.
The present sheet belongs to a group of spirited landscapes in pen and ink by Palmieri – intended as finished works of art for sale – that are clearly inspired by the draughtsmanship of Guercino (1591-1666). That such drawings were greatly admired by the artist’s contemporaries in France is seen in the words of the draufhtsman and engraver Jean-Georges Wille, who noted in his journal of January 1775 that ‘M. Palmieri, Italien, m’a fait deux dessins, un peu dans le goût du Guerchin. Je les lui ay payés un louis pièce’.
A highly comparable drawing of a Landscape with Figures in a Storm, which shows very similar handling of the branches and foliage of the prominent central tree, and identical diagonal hatching of the mountains in the background, was with Steven Ongpin Fine Art in 2011, and is signed ‘Palmerius. in et fecit’ (see last image).
Other Guercinesque landscapes by Palmieri are in the Louvre, the Uffizi and the National Gallery of Scotland.
Palmieri also produced landscape drawings in the style of other 17th-century artists working in Italy, such as Claude Lorrain and the Dutch Italianate artists Jan Both and Karel Dujardin. Many of these drawings were sold to French and English aristocrats visiting Italy as souvenirs of their Grand Tour.
1. The Ongpin sheet was previously at Christie’s, Paris, 21 October 2009, lot 91, repr.
2. For the Louvre and Uffizi sheets, see Giuseppe Delogu, ‘Pietro Giacomo Palmieri’, Pantheon, December 1935, p. 391 and 389, and for the National Gallery of Scotland sheet, see Keith Andrews, National Gallery of Scotland: Catalogue of Italian Drawings, Cambridge 1968, I, p. 86, II, p. 106, fig. 606.
Request more information »