Cremona 1671 — 1749 Bologna
Ascension of St. Catherine
pen & golden brown ink. 91/4 x 11" (235 x 279mm). WM.
This drawing has been seen by Dott. Marco Riccomini and accepted as autograph.1
In his recent monograph on Creti's drawings, while not including the present drawing, Riccomini does illustrate a painting of an identical figure, minus the angels.2 The location of the painting, which appears cut down (no size is given but it looks cropped), is presently unknown, but had been with Agnews. Riccomini places its image on the same page as Creti's altarpiece, The Virgin and Child in Glory with St. Ignazio, in San Petronious, Bologna. Presumably Riccomini believes it was made in connection with the altarpiece which was finished in 1737. Indeed, in the background, one can see the bust of a female saint with a palm in her left hand. However, in a slightly later altarpiece for the same church, Creti painted an identical figure, albeit without the palm, rather with one hand crossing her chest.3 She is in the clouds, as in the drawing and Agnews painting, in the upper section of the painting. The drapery over her legs is the same, and putti surround this figure. The later altarpiece, Charity of San Carlo Borromeo, is dated 1740. Thus it seems that the present drawing was important in that it was useful for both altarpieces.
Donato Creti ranks as one of the most elegant painters and draughtsman of the late 17th and early 18th centuries. He was a prolific artist, happily employed by the local aristocracy who commissioned his paintings, often mythological series with gracefully posed figures set in stunning landscapes and employing brilliant colors.
some years ago in person.
Marco Riccomini, Donato Creti, Le opera su carte, Torino, 2012,
Renato Roli, Donato Creti, Milan, 1967, fig. 85.