Remigio Cantagallina (Borgo San Sepolcro c.1582-Florence 1656)

Remigio Cantagallina, son of Gio. Maria Cantagallina1, was born in Borgo San Sepolcro around 1582 and buried in Santa Maria del Carmine, Florence, in 16562. He was an eclectic figure: painter, draftsman, etcher, architect, and engineer. He is most famous for his pen drawings depicting the Tuscan countryside, as Filippo Baldinucci (1624-1697) describes him: “celebre in disegnar paesi a penna” ("renowned for sketching villages in pen")1. He pioneered the art of urban landscape3 and the printing technique of acquaforte "per copertura"4. Baldinucci mentions Cantagallina and his brothers, Antonio (?-1616) and Giovan Francesco, as pupils of Giulio Parigi1 (1571-1635); von Heinecken hypothesizes an apprenticeship with the Carraccis5; De Witt suggests that he trained in Antonio Tempesta’s (1555-1630) school6; Negro Spina refers to him as collaborator and not scholar of Giulio Parigi7. Approximately his activity started in 1603, date of his frist etching, and continued till 1655, date of his last drawing8.

1F. Baldinucci, 1681-1728, p.142; 2C. Thiem, 1977, pp.348-349; 3A. Negro Spina, 1983, pp.165-166; 4 A. Petrucci, 1958, p.101; 5K.H. von Heinecken, 1771, pp.137-138; 6A. De Witt, 1941, p.147; 7A. Negro Spina, 1983, p.161; 8M. Chiarini, Florence, 1973, p.35.

The oldest dated work by Cantagallina is a series of three landscape etchings that are influenced by Antonio Tempesta and Paul Bril (1554-1626)1.

1G.K. Nagler,1858-1879, IV, p.1021, n.3584.

Antonio and Remigio Cantagallina painted "The Last Supper" for the St. Bartholomew convent in Sansepolcro, now in the Civic Museum of Sansepolcro1.

1O.H. Giglioli, 1921, pp.6-7.

Cantagallina etched "St. Francis conforted by angels", dedicated to Niccolo' Capponi1.

1G.K. Nagler,1858-1879, IV, p.1021, n.3584.

Cantagallina represented the victory of the Tuscan army against the Turks in the city of Bona (1607) in the etching "Bona, citta' di Barbaria gia' vescovado di Sant'Agostino"1. This etching predates the decoration of the Sala di Bona in Palazzo Pitti, Florence, by Bernardino Pocetti (1548-1612) depicting the same subject. Chiarini attributes six landscape frescoes in the Sala di Bona to Cantagallina2.

1G.K. Nagler,1858-1879, IV, p.1021, n.3584; 2M. Chiarini, 1975, p.228.

Cantagallina documented the scenography of two theatrical plays invented by Giulio Parigi with two series of etchings: "Il Giudizio di Paride" (7 etchings) and "L'Argonautica" (19 etchings)1.

1A. Bartsch, 1803-1821, XX, nn.13-19,20-38.

Cantagallina created four etchings representing two episodes of the life of Jesus and two episodes of Tobia's story: "Jesus fatigatus ex itineresedebat sic supra fontem", "Ego cibum habeo manducare, quem vos nescitis", "Apprehende branchiam eius, et exentera eum, et cor eius, et fel et iecur repone tibi", and "Anna autem sedebat secus viam, quotidie in suercilio montis, unde respicere poterat de longinquo"1. The subject relates to Matthijs Bril (1550-1584) frescoes depicting religious scenes from the Old and New Testament in the Torre dei Venti, Palazzo Apostolico Vaticano, Rome2. The etchings were edited by Jacopo Rossi in Rome and copied in counterpart by Hans Christoph Smischek3. A drawing of "Apprehende branchiam eius" is in the Courtauld Institute of Art, London4. Furthermore, an undated album of 64 sheets in the Santarelli collection of the Uffizi Museum, Florence, represents episods of the Old Testament.

1K.H. von Heinecken, 1778-1790, III, p.569; 2C. Hendriks, 2003, pp. 124-147; 3G.K. Nagler,1858-1879, IV, p.1021, n.3584; 4C. Thiem, 1977, p.350.

Cantagallina drew a religous scene set in a fluvial landscape, now in our collection. Cantagallina collaborated to the funeral celebration of Enrico IV of France (1553-1610) in Florence by working on chiaroscuro paintings representing episodes of Enrico IV's life1.

1G. Gaeta Bertela', A. Petrioli Tofani, 1969, pp. 134-135.

Cantagallina embarked on a trip to the Netherlands documented by an album of 105 drawings now in the Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Bruxelles1. The dates on the sheets suggest that the journey lasted around two years from the beginning of 1612 to the end of 1613.

1H. Fierens Gevaert, 1923, pp.201-219 and 326-342.

Dated drawings: "Impruneta fair" (Uffizi Gallery, Florence), "Stigmata of St. Francis/View of the Averna mountain" (Scholz collection, New York).

Dated drawings: "View of the Badia Prataglia" (Boijmans-van Beuningen Museum, Rotterdam).

Cristofano Paolo Galli created a series of 12 octagonal etchings depicting landscapes invented by Cantagallina1. A number of octagonal drawings by Cantagallina and/or Galli served as model for the etchings. Three of these drawings are not signed (two belong to our collection and one has been sold at auction2) while other two, now in the British Museum, carry Galli's signature. Galli etched another series of landscape prints invented by Cantagallina. Two members of the series are known to us: one is in our collection and the other (dated 1624) is in the Bertarelli's print collection in Milan.

1K.H. von Heinecken, 1778-1790, III, p.569; 2Sale Swan, 24/Jan/2005, lot 62.

Cantagallina dedicated 14 landscape etchings to the marquis Cerbone Borbone del Monte di Santa Maria1. Malaspina mentions a series 15 etchings2. A landscape drawing in our collection shows stilistic and size similarities to these series but does not match any of the 14 etchings known to us.

1G. Gori Gandellini, 1771, ed. 1808-1816, I, p.173; 2L. Malaspina di Sannazzaro, 1824, p.248.

Dated drawings: "The village square" (Art Museum-Princeton University, USA).

The last dated etching by Cantagallina represents a landscape with travelers1. An etching similar in subject, dimensions and style is at the Civic Museum of Sansepolcro and carries Cantagallina initials and the inscription "M. Pietro Antonio Lunati 1635".

1C. Le Blanc, 1854-1889, p.581.

Dated drawings: "Woody landscape with bridges flanking rocks, two women talking" (Louvre Museum, Paris), "Farm" (Uffizi Gallery, Florence).

Dated drawings: "Landscape" (Uffizi Gallery, Florence).

Dated drawings: "Farm" (Uffizi Gallery, Florence).

The last dated work by Cantagallina is a drawing in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence, previously attributed to Giulio Parigi1. Another drawing by Cantagallina in the Louvre Museum, Paris, shows St. Peter's square in Rome with the arms of Alessandro VII, elected pope in 16552.

1M. Chiarini, 1973, p.35; 2F. Viatte and C. Monbeig Goguel, 1981, p.116.

Negro Spina attributed a series of 12 undated and unsigned landscape etchings to Cantagallina1,2. Nevertheless, they lack his fluid touch and might be the work of a follower.

1A. Bartsch, 1803-1821, XX, nn.1-12; 2A. Negro Spina, 1984, pp.403-411.

-Filippo Baldinucci, Notizie de' professori del disegno da Cimabue in qua, Florence, 1681-1728.
-Giovanni Gori Gandellini, Notizie istoriche degli intagliatori, Siena, 1771.
-Karl H. von Heinecken, Idee generale d'une collection complete d'Estames. Avec une dissertation sur l'origine de la Gravure et sur les premiers Livres d'images, Leipzig and Vienna, 1771.
-Karl H. von Heinecken, Dictionnaire des artistes dont nous avons les estampes, avec une notice detaillede leurs ouvrages graves, Leipzig, 1778-1790.
-Adam Bartsch, Le Peintre graveur, Vienna, 1803-1821.
-Luigi Malaspina di Sannazzaro, Catalogo di una Raccolta di Stampe antiche compilato dal suo stesso possessore, Marchese Malaspina di Sannazzaro, Milan, 1824.
-Charles Le Blanc, Manuel de l'amateur d'estampes, Paris, 1854-1889.
-Georg K. Nagler, Die Monogrammisten, Munich, 1858-1879.
-Odoardo H. Giglioli, Sansepolcro, Florence, 1921.
-Hippolyte Fierens Gevaert, Voyage inedit d'un artiste florentin du XVII siecle, in "Le Flambeau", Brussels, 1923.
-Antony De Witt, Incisione italiana, Milan, 1941.
-Alfredo Petrucci, Gli incisori dal Sec. XV al Sec. XIX. L'opera del genio Italiano all'estero,Rome, 1958.
-Giovanna Gaeta Bertela', Annamaria Petrioli Tofani, Feste e apparati medicei da Cosimo I a Cosimo II, Mostra di disegni e incisioni, Florence, 1969.
-Marco Chiarini, Mostra di disegni italiani di paesaggio del Seicento e del Settecento, Florence, 1973.
-Marco Chiarini, Cantagallina Remigio, in Dizionario biografico degli italiani, XVIII, Rome, 1975.
-Christel Thiem, Florentiner Zeichner des Fruhbarock, Munich, 1977.
-Francoise Viatte and Catherine Monbeig Goguel, Dessins baroques florentins du Musee du Louvre, Paris, 1981.
-Annamaria Negro Spina, Giulio Parigi e gli incisori della sua cerchia, Naples, 1983.
-Annamaria Negro Spina, Le incisioni di paesaggio di Remigio Cantagallina, in Studi di storia dell'arte in memoria di Mario Rotili, Naples, 1984.
-Carla Hendriks, Northern Landscapes on Roman Walls-The Frescoes of Matthijs and Paul Bril, Florence, 2003.
-Sale Swann, New York, 24/Jan/2005.

Additional bibliography
-Marco Charini, I disegni italiani di paesaggio dal 1600 al 1750, Treviso, 1972.
-Arthur Blumenthal, Theatre Art of the Medici, Dartmouth, 1980.
-Arthur Blumenthal, Giulio Parigi's Stage Designs: Florence and the Early Baroque Spectacle, PhD, New York University, 1984.
-Alessandra Baroni, A scuola d’incisione da Giulio Parigi: Cantagallina e altri, in "Paragone", 84-85, pp. 88-93, 2009.