Marcantonio Bassetti (1586–1630)

Marcantonio Bassetti (1586–1630)

Marcantonio Bassetti (Verona 1586 – 1630 Verona)

The Sacrifice of Isaac (recto); Elijah Fed by the Angel (verso)

Pen and brown ink, brown-red wash, over graphite (recto and verso), 95 x 142 mm (3.7 x 5.6 inch)

Inscribed ‘157’ (verso, pen and brown ink, in an early hand)

Jacques and Galila Hollander, Paris, until 2014


After an initial training with Felice Brusasorci in Verona, Marcantonio Bassetti went to Venice where he was particularly influenced by Tintoretto, Veronese and Jacopo Bassano. He is recorded in Rome in 1616, and may have travelled there with his Veronese compatriots, Alessandro Turchi and Pasquale Ottino in 1614. In Rome Bassetti was influenced by the paintings of Caravaggio and Orazio Borgianni.

Bassetti is the most important Veronese artist of the beginning of the seventeenth century, and renowned for his Post-Tintorettesque compositions, chiaroscuro atmosphere and vigorous style. His works on paper are frequently heightened with white bodycolour; pen and ink drawings are much rarer. In these, his handling is especially vigorous, with lavish applications of wash, as can also been seen in the present drawing.

The largest group of drawings by Bassetti is at Windsor Castle, comprising some twenty sheets.1 Our drawing can for instance be compared to Bassetti’s Resurrection of the Dead in the Art Institute, Chicago (see fig.).2 For this drawing the artist also used an oval surround for the composition. The scenes on the recto and verso of our sheet are based on paintings by Tintoretto in the Scuola Grande di San Rocco in Venice, and illustrate how the example of the Venetian artist was deeply influential to Bassetti, who must have studied his works in great detail. Another drawing with an oval composition is known by Bassetti, sold at Christie’s in 2004 (see last image).3


1. A. Blunt and E. Croft-Murray, Venetian Drawings … at Windsor Castle, London 1957, nos 1-21.

2. Pen and brown ink, brown wash, over graphite, 202 x 139 mm; The Art Institute of Chicago, The Leonora Hall Gurley Memorial Collection, inv. no. 1922.959, Suzanne Folds McCullagh and Laura M. Giles, Italian Drawings before 1600 in the Art Institute of Chicago: a Catalogue of the Collection, New Jersey 1997, cat. no. 24.

3. Pen and brown ink, grey-brown wash, over graphite, 152 x 102 mm; Christie’s, Paris, 18 March 2004, lot 55, repr.

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Marcantonio Bassetti (1586–1630)
Marcantonio Bassetti (1586–1630)
Marcantonio Bassetti (1586–1630)
Marcantonio Bassetti (1586–1630)
Marcantonio Bassetti (1586–1630)
Marcantonio Bassetti (1586–1630)
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