Drawing 1

Domenico Piola (1627 – 8 April 1703) was a Genoese painter of the Baroque period. He was the leading artist in Genoa in the second half of the 17th century, working on ceiling frescoes for many Genoese churches and palaces and canvas paintings for private collectors. Wiki


Pen and brown ink and gouache. The drawing is unpublished. We know at least one other drawing by Piola at The National Gallery of Scotland with the identical subject matter of our drawing. There are several drawings by Piola directly related to this pictorial composition and this corresponds to the panorama of the Genovese painting in the first half of the seventeenth century. Unlike other Italian schools, as the Florentine, in Genoa there are just a few versions extant of strictly preparatory drawings to the painting activity. As for the graphic style of our drawing it should be noted it approaches the examples in which the artist almost totally omits his characteristic outlining in pen, with the exception of Christ’s face, and uses only the tones of the washed ink for the definition of the chiaroscuro. A counter-example with substantial outlining is lot 22 Christie’s London 5 July 2011 “Christ healing the sick”. Another sketch typical of this kind of graphic style was offered at Thierry de Maigret, Paris, April 10, 2013 lot 34 “La Descente de Croix Sanguine”.

As well as the above compositions, a large oil painting by Piola at the Palazzo Lomellino confronts the viewer with the deposed body of Christ ascending, held aloft by an angelic host. The lax body of the deposed Christ in the center is certainly akin to the subject of our sheet, specifically in the recumbent posture with legs passively skewed.

Many versions of the lamentation and Pieta exist, most notably Michelangelo’s statue of the same title. That dramatic realization surely influenced Piola, and consequently the Genovese Baroque painters, in the depiction of the deposed Christ.


  • Sepia ink, gouache on old, laid paper.

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