Rivarolo ca. 1693 – Genoa 1753
Allegorical Figure representing the Catholic Faith (recto); Ornament Studies (verso)
Pen and brown ink, brown wash, black chalk (recto); black chalk (verso).
Inscribed No 11. Collezione Santo Varni and del Campora at the bottom.
272 x 391 mm – 10.1/16 x 15.3/8 in.
Provenance – Santo Varni Collection, Genoa (Lugt 3531).
Largely active in Liguria, Francesco Campora was trained by Giuseppe Palmieri (1674 – 1740) and Domenico Parodi (1672 – 1742) according to the biographer of Genoese painters Carlo Giuseppe Ratti who also mentions his further training in the studio of Francesco Solimena. Campora indeed spent a few years in Naples then he went to Rome. Back in Genoa, he worked on numerous decorations but met with some financial disappointments. In their Abecedario pittorico, Pellegrino Antonio Orlando and Pietro Guarienti mention him but, as states Ratti, under the wrong name of Francesco Campana and specify that he created ‘many altarpieces for the churches in and around Genoa, all with artistic skill and good taste; he continued to operate in his homeland, gaining everybody’s love and esteem for his value as well as for his modesty and civility.’ Ratti also lists a certain number of his works, most of them nowadays destroyed, and notably describes his frescoes in the church San Martino de Sampierdarena, a combination of fictive architecture with narrative and allegorical frescoes in the best tradition of Genoese and Neapolitan decors.
Depicting the Catholic Faith as described by Cesare Ripa, this drawing is a project for a pendentive. It comes from the collection of the Genoese sculptor Santo Varni (1807 – 1885) who gathered together more than 4000 drawings, mostly from the Genosese school, and bears his characteristic inscription. Campora’s graphic style is an interesting mix between Genoese baroque and Solimena’s technique of pen and brown ink combined with grey wash and abundant use of expressive and voluminous draperies. As a matter of fact, although it cannot be linked to a particular painted decor, this project of pendentive recalls those painted by Solimena in the Gesù Nuovo in Naples.
 Carlo Giuseppe Ratti, Delle vite de’ pittori, scultori e architetti genovesi, Genoa, 1769, p. 285.
 Pellegrino Antonio Orlando and Pietro Guarienti, Abecedario Pittorico, Venise, Giambattista Pasquali, 1753, p. 183.
 Cesare Ripa, Iconologie, Paris, Louis Billaine, 1677, p. 159-160: “A woman dressed in white, wearing a helmet, in her right hand, a candle on a heart, and in the left, the Tablets of the Commandments and an open book”.