Monday, June 22, 2009

A Great Collector

Pier Leone Ghezzi (28 June 1674 – March 1755)
Padre Sebastiano Resta
Biblioteca Vallicelliana, Rome

Ghezzi was an Italian Rococo painter and caricaturist active in Rome.

The caricature above is one of many which he made of priests and religious in the Rome of his day.

The sitter is Padre Sebastiano Resta (1653 –1714). He was born in Milan but transferred to Rome in 1655. He remained there until his death. He was an Oratorian at S. Maria in Vallicella in Rome.

He was one of the great collectors of artists' drawings. He intended to sell his albums at a profit and donate the proceeds to charity. He solicited gifts of drawings through his wide network of correspondence.

The English architect and agent John Talman described his work as follows:

“I have lately seen a collection of Drawings the finest without doubt in Europe, for the method and number of rare designs . . . they are books that ought to be in the Q[uee]n's Library. . . . They were at first collected by the famous Father Resta, a Milanese, of the oratory of Philippo Neri at Rome; a person so well known in Rome, and all over Italy, for his skill in drawings, that it would be needless to say any more of him, than that these collections were made by him.”