BIAF 2015





Biennale Internazionale dell'Antiquariato

Florence – 26 September – 4 October 2015

Preview 25 September

At this year's edition of the Biennale Internazionale di Antiquariato in Florence, Francesca Antonacci Damiano Lapiccirella Fine Art will be showing a selection of rare works of art never displayed before, including Luca Giordano'The Glory of St. Andrea Corsini, (Naples 1634 – 1705) which is returning to Palazzo Corsini in its original frame, complete with wax seals bearing the arms of the Principi Corsini.  The painting has never been put up for sale on the market before now.

Another rare work, never shown in public before now, is the painting entitled Nocturnal Festivities on the Grand Canal by Carlo Grubacs (Venice 1802 – Venice 1878), a picture of the highest quality with which the artist set out to celebrate a festive evening in Venice, probably held to mark the visit of the Emperor Ferdinand I and of his consort Maria Anna to the city in 1838.  Grubacs, one of the leading Venetian vedutisti after Canaletto and Guardi, is celebrated for his nocturnes with their penetrating draughtsmanship and their dazzling, luminous mastery of colour. 

Another fascinating piece never previously shown is the Head of the Gorgon Medusa, the mythological monster captured to perfection in this patinated plaster work sculpted between 1916 and 1921.  Famous for his portraits and his allegorical and symbolic figures, which are to be found in the museums and public squares of such important Italian cities as Rome or in the Fountain of the Caryatids in Piazza dei Quiriti in Trieste, in Capodistria, in Milan and even in the Abbey of Montecassino, Attilio Selva has produced a highly original interpretation of the Gorgon, her half-closed eyes slanted and disturbing, her arched eyebrows sharp as blades, and her profile which appears to have been borrowed directly from a Classical Greek sculpture.  In this plaster work the sculptor masters a complex interplay of shapes, the light becoming entangled in the Gorgon's snake hair to create light and dark masses which contrast with her stern features.

Nicknamed the Master of HoarfrostGustaf Fjaestad was a celebrated early 20th century Swedish artist who specialised in painting glistening snow, ice and frost lit by opal crystals, of which the Winter Landscape presented here, dated 1913, is a splendid example.  The paintings of this artist, who has given us such a vibrant and fascinating picture of the Swedish winter, continue to work their magic.  When visiting the Esposizione Internazionale d'Arte in Rome in 1911, King Vittorio Emanuele II was literally so mesmerised by Fjaestad's painting, that he decided to buy one for his collection.  The artist's work not only graces the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm but may also be admired in a large number of museums around the world.

Considered from his earliest youth to be one of the most influential artists of his time, Vincenzo Camuccini went on to make a name for himself as the leading exponent of the Neo-Classical style in Europe.  The artist sought inspiration for many of his studies in the Classical world and more especially in Trajan's Column, the bas-reliefs on which had once again become a focus of archaeological and artistic interest.  Naturally, he also looked to the great masters of the past such as Raphael, Michelangelo, Giulio Romano, Poussin and Leonardo, as we can tell from the delicate and sophisticated draughtsmanship in this lovely Horse's Head.  The artist appears to have taken his inspiration for this theme, of which he was especially fond and of which he produced numerous variants over the years, from Raphael's Stanze in the Vatican, in particular from Giulio Romano's frescoes in the Stanza di Costantino (the Hall of Constantine).  Camuccini first began to produce these drawings in around 1787 but he went on producing them for several years thereafter, making them often extremely difficult to date with any accuracy. 

Visitors to the stand will also be able to admire other important works such as Carnival Night in Via del Corso in Rome, an oil painting on paper glued onto canvas, by Ippolito Caffi (Belluno 1809 – Lissa 1866).  Caffi was very fond of this theme and similar works are to be found in the Museo di Ca' Pesaro in Venice, in the Galleria d'Arte Moderna in Rome and in the Thorvaldsen Museum in Copenhagen.  A Marine Still-life by Filippo De Pisis (Ferrara 1896 – Brugherio 1956) dated 1943, on the other hand, is of a completely different genre and reveals its own unique figurative style.  In this large oil painting on canvas, the artist puts together a heterogeneous collection of items, portraying each one with light, sensual brushstrokes full and rich in texture, in the suspended silence typical of the Metaphysical school of art.  Also on display on the stand are four magnificent paper works by Alberto Burri (Città di Castello 1915 – Nice 1995) depicting one of his best-loved subjects:  the Cretti 1971.