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Cesare Rossetti

(1565–1644, Rome)

An Ancient Warrior Talks to a Fortune Teller. Red chalk drawing, framing line in pen and brown ink. 24.8 x 18.2 cm. “Josepino” inscribed verso in an old hand in pen and brown ink.

The Roman painter, Cesare Rossetti, was an intimate associate of Giuseppe Cesari, known as Cavalier d’Arpino, and one of his close collaborators. His relationship with the latter may well have contributed to Giovanni Baglione’s inclusion of the artist’s biography in his Vite, published in 1642. Rossetti assisted Cavalier d’Arpino on several prestigious commissions, including the fresco cycles for S. Prassede, S. Giovanni in Laterano and the Conservatorial Palace. From 1593 the artist belonged to the Accademia di San Luca, and in 1606 he was appointed a member of the Congregazione Virtuosi al Pantheon.

Rossetti’s work as a draughtsman has been little researched until now. Marco Simone Bolzoni, in an essay published in 2013 in the journal Storia dell’Arte, deserves credit for having contributed significantly to a better understanding of Rossetti’s drawing style (“Cesare Rossetti “amico” del Cavalier d’Arpino: un nuovo dipinto e alcune note sull’opera grafica”, in: Storia dell’Arte 136, 2013, no. 36, pp. 46–64). The artist’s modest oeuvre of drawings consists for the most part of pen drawings, his red chalk drawings being much rarer. A drawing in this technique is kept in the British Museum in London. The present drawing is a valuable addition to the oeuvre known to date.

We wish to thank Nicolas Schwed and Marco Simone Bolzoni for confirming Rossetti’s authorship.

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