Rome 1750 – 1799
Putto Holding a Trumpet (recto); Project of Triumphal Arch (verso)
Inscribed on the verso PAPA / PIO / EVIVA.
Pen and brown ink, brown wash, heightened with white and grey gouache, on brown prepared paper.
407 x 404 mm – 16x 15 7/8 in.
A pupil of the Accademia di San Luca, Cades trained in drawing and painting under Domenico Corvi and his precocious talent was quickly noticed. He perfected his education by a journey to Florence and by assiduous copying of Old Masters, particularly Raphael and Michelangelo, whose influence remained visible throughout his artistic career. It is this copying that made his style evolve into what can be called Neo-Mannerism which combines powerful forms and vigorous lines with a significant preciosity and elaborate decorative sense. In the late 1760s, he received his first independent commissions and began to befriend German and Scandinavian artistic communities in Rome. He also made acquaintance of the sculptor Antonio Canova and the painter Johan Heinrich Füssli.
In the 1770s, Cades worked on many interesting projects mainly including large-size religious altarpieces, whereas in the 1780s he was engaged in large-scale decorative works in such grand Roman residences as, for example, the Palazzo Ruspolo, the Palazzo Chigi, the Palazzo Altieri and the Villa Borghese. His decors were often based on literary themes drawn from the works of Ludovico Ariosto, Torquato Tasso and Giovanni Boccaccio. In the 1790s, his style shifted to rigorous Classicism, sobriety of colour and form, which however failed to minimise the influence of Michelangelo on his work. A prolific and confident draughtsman, Cades tried various techniques. In many of his sheets, including the present, he used pen and ink, brush and wash, substantially heightened with white on prepared brown paper.
Condition report – The four corners were reintegrated and the drawing’s shape was probably modified from circular to square. A small tear in the reintegrated upper left corner.