Domenico Maria FRATTA - 1696 - 1763
Hercules Fighting with the Lion
Bolognese School

Black chalk
On yellow prepared paper

39.8 X 28.0 cm

Inscribed :

Watermark :

Provenance :

Euro :

" S. Pier"

Circle with Flower

Collection Hasselman (L.1012)
Collection B. Funck



Domenico Maria Fratta, born in Bologna in 1696, initiated his studies with Domenico Maria Viani and Carlo Antonio Rambaldi and in the house of the Count Fava and by studying the works of Donato Creti. Realizing early that he was not adapted for painting, Domenico Maria Fratta began his specialization in the graphic arts, especially the making of preparatory drawings for etchings which were executed by other artists such as Francesco Domenico Francia, Domenico Mattioli and Giuseppe Filosi. He was also the principal of the Accademia Clementina. In 1735 he produced 46 preparatory drawings for G.B. Beccari after the frescoes of Niccolo dell'Abate in Palazzo Torfanini. He also produced drawings after San Michele in Bosco and after the story of Ulysses by Pellegrino Tibaldi. He died in Bologna in 1763.

The present drawing is a study after the fresco by Agostino Carracci in Palazzo Sampieri, Bologna, showing Hercules and Caco. The fresco was painted in 1593/94, and the present drawing must have served as a preparatory for an etching by Domenico Maria Fratta.

A large part of the surviving drawings by Domenico Maria Fratta are in the Fondazione Cini in Venice, the Gabinetto di Disegni in the Uffizi and at Windsor Castle where there is a series of highly finished sheets (Kurz 243-254) one of these, the signed "Death of Adonis" was exhibited at Stuttgart in 1982 "Bolognesische Zeichnungen". Another comparative drawing is “Armida who is Killing the Sleeping Rinaldo” kept in the Pinacoteca di Bologna ( These works are so elegant and well executed that they are often confused for the works of Donato Creti, such as the group of nine Mythological and Romance drawings kept in the Fine Arts Museum in Budapest (inv.nos.3774-3782)


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