black chalk, stumping, white chalk heightening, on pinkish tan paper. 171/2 x 12" (444 x 305mm).
This sensitively drawn academy shows a distinct Venetian influence in the handling, but is Bolognese in a tradition that goes back to the Carracci teachings of the late Cinquecento. Nearer to his time, artists such as Franceso Monti, Ercole Graziani, and Filippo Pedrini, to name a few, produced academies in the same technique employing black chalk for defining contours and stumping to shade and achieve volume.1
In the 1989 monograph on the drawings and paintings of Calvi, there are a number of comparable drawings reproduced. For instance, and in addition to being done in the same stumped technique, in the Flying Angel one finds the same deep pockets of drapery folds.2 The distinctive contour delineation of feet and hands as is found in our drawing is also evident in several published figure studies.3 Finally, there is a female figure in the same pose as our nude, but in reverse and clothed, in a wash drawing of Mary and John(?) beneathe the Cross, which may well be related to our life study.
Calvi studied in Bologna with Varotti and Zanotti and later taught in the Academia Clementina. He worked in Siena as well as his native city in the baroque and rococco Bolognese tradition though his late works anticipate Bolognese neoclassicism. he was an engraver as well as a painter, acquiring the name il Sordino because he was partly deaf.
for the Graziani, see Bean & Griswold, 18th Century Italian Drawings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, 1990, p. 93, cat. #80, illustrated.
Pierallini and Busamanti, Jacopo Alessandro Calvi, Disegni e Dipinti, Rimini, 1989, fig. 46.
Pierallini and Busamanti, op.cit., figs. 55 & 57.