Alessandro Maganza (Vicenza 1556 – 1630 Vicenza)
The Last Supper
Pen and brown ink, indistinct armorial (?) watermark with stars underneath, 194 x 194 mm (7.6 x 7.6 inch)
- Collection Jacques Petithory (1929-1992), France1
- Private collection ‘Monsieur J.J.S.’, Paris, until 2013; his collector’s stamp in blue ink on the verso
Alessandro was the son of Giambattista Maganza (c.1509-1586), and is the best-known member of this family of painters from Vicenza. According to the biographer Ridolfi, he was trained by his father and in the studio of Giovanni Antonio Fasolo, an associate of Paolo Veronese. Fasolo died in 1572 and Alessandro spent the next four years in Venice, which proved highly influential. His works shows familiarity with the leading Venetian painters of this period, Jacopo Tintoretto, Veronese and Palma Giovane.2 The artist frescoed the inner cupola of Palladio’s Villa Rotonda, near Vicenza, with allegorial figures in colour, recalling Veronese, and deities in monochrome.
Maganza’s compositional pen sketches have occasionally been attributed to Veronese but are quite distinctive: rapid, skilful and competent. Examples of his draftsmanship include the Vision of St Jerome (Christ Church, Oxford) and the Scene of Martyrdom (Albertina, Vienna).
The present sheet with its typical turbulent handling treats the theme of the Last Supper in a particularly intimate way, with the disciples sitting around an oval or circular table, with Christ seated at the centre, while attendants bring in dishes in the background, while the architecture of arched windows and columns is briefly yet convincingly indicated. A painting of the Last Supper sold at Sotheby’s in 2009 is close in conception to our drawing – the general grouping of the Apostles around the table, the figure seen at the back in the foreground and the servants bringing dishes are distinctly similar (see fig.). The painting was published as Palma Giovane in 1980, with a possible alternative attribution to Maganza, and has more recently been given to Santo Peranda (1566-1638).3 The discovery of our drawing may be reason to re-think the earlier suggestion of Maganza as author of this enigmatic painting.
Another treatment of the same theme of the Last Supper is preserved in a more finished drawing by Maganza in the Louvre (see fig.).4
SOLD TO A PRIVATE COLLECTOR, USA
1. Jacques Petithory collected paintings, drawings and sculpture, and beqeathed part of his rich collection to the Musée Bonnat, Bayonne, in 1992; see Pierre Rosenberg, La donation Jacques Petithory au musée Bonnat, Bayonne: objets d'art, sculptures, peintures, dessins, Paris 1997.
2. For the artist, see Diana Gisolfi, ‘Maganza, Alessandro’, in Jane Turner (ed.), The Dictionary of Art, London 1996, vol. 20, pp. 86-87.
3. Oil on canvas, 96 x 129.5 cm; Sotheby’s Milan, 23 June 2009, lot 100, repr. (colour). N. Ivanoff and P. Zampetti, ‘Giacomo Negretti detto Palma il Giovane’, in: I Pittori bergamaschi del XIII al XIX secolo. Il Cinquecento, vol. III, Bergamo 1980, p. 530, cat. no. 20, ill. P. 700, fig. 4 (as Palma Giovane, with possible alternative attribution to Maganza); S. Mason Rinaldi, Palma il Giovane. L’opera completa, Milan 1984, p. 167, cat. no. A8 (as Santo Peranda).
4. Pen and brown ink and brown wash over black chalk, 210 x 310 mm; Département des Arts Graphiques, inv. no. RF 597 recto. This sheet was previously thought to be by Tintoretto, L. Both de Tauzia, Notice des dessins His de La Salle, exposés au Lovure, Paris 1882, no. 98 (as Tintoretto).