Pietro ROTARI - 1707 - 1762
Figures in the Clouds
Venetian School

Red chalk
On light brown paper

43.4 X 64.4 cm

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Double Circle with Goat



Pietro Antonio Rotari, born in Verona in 1707, was a painter and engraver who began his activity under the influence of Antonio Balestra. From 1725 to 1727 he was active in Venice where he was in contact with Giovanni Battista Piazzetta. From 1727 to 1730 he was active in Rome and from 1731 to 1733 in Naples where he was under the influence of Francesco Solimena. In 1735 he returned to his native city where he opened a painting academy and received many commissions such as the altar in the Hospital of San Jacopo in Verona, the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Brescia, the church of San Domenico in Casale Monferrato, in the church of San Vincenzo Ferreri in Sant’Anastasia in Verona and in the Duomo of Bergamo. In 1751 Pietro Rotari left Italy and was at first active in the Court of Dresden and from 1756 until his death in 1762 in Saint Petersburg in the Court of Catherine II.

View chalk drawings are known by Pietro Rotari, making the present drawing in important addition to his small graphic oeuvre. The drawing can be compared to the “Portrait of a Young Girl Reading” in the Museo di Castelvecchio in Verona (, and the “Portrait of a Girl”, formerly with Gallery Kekko in 2007. The drawing must be dated to the early 1730’s as the influence of Francesco Solimena is clearly present, especially in the central figure. The technique shows that the drawing must have served as a study for an etching.

The attribution has been proposed by Dr. Andrea Piai, Venice.


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