Artibus et Historiae no. 83 (XLII)2021, ISSN 0391-9064
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WILLIAM L. BARCHAM - The Issue of Copies: Three Drawings by Giannantonio Guardi in New York (pp. 255–275)
Studying Giannantonio Guardi’s three drawings in the Morgan Library which replicate paintings by older masters, this essay untangles the relationship between each sheet and its source – a Cinquecento artist, one of the Seicento, and a Settecento master – to reveal that Guardi (the older brother of the famous view painter Francesco) was an ornery copyist. Although he made his living producing duplicates of other men’s paintings for important patrons in eighteenth-century Venice, his approaches towards copying in the drawing medium changed from one work to another, at times correcting and expanding another man’s figures, at others replacing and rearranging them, in the end reshuffling well-known compositions to create variations on a theme, ‘visual riffs’, amusing annotations, and capricci.