Ferrari Carlo, detto il Ferrarin, Donations for the Homeland – Auction at Porta Borsari in Verona
AH00248AFC.jpg
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1,865 - 1,871; oil on canvas
cm. 84,5 x 104
apochryphal signature bottom right: “A. Inganni”; inscription on entrance to shop “FORNO”, on the column: “S. NICO[…]”
Inventory: AH00248AFC
Provenance: Verona, Ferrari’s widow (in 1893); Milan, Rossella Chierichetti Cima (until 1955)
Exibition: 1998-1999, Monza, n. 46

This painting entered the Cariplo Collection from a private collection in 1955, as a work by Angelo Inganni. The attribution, made on the basis of an apochryphal signature, was first confirmed by an evaluation, dated 10 May 1955, by Giorgio Nicodemi, which was traced during the first cataloguing of the Collection (1999) but not located in the archive. Further investigation supported this hypothetical attribution; in fact, the place depicted in the painting was identified as Piazza Borsari in Verona, the city where Inganni had executed an important group of four paintings between 1842 and 1855, during his stays in Veneto. More recent researches showed the work to be by another – anonymous – artist (1999), since it was found that the quality of execution and the stylistic characteristics of the painting did not correspond to the formal and chromatic quality associated with Inganni, who achieved a remarkable degree of refinement in his work during the 1940s.

Then, in 2002, the canvas was identified as Auction at Porta Borsari in Verona, one of the last paintings executed by the Veronese painter Carlo Ferrari, called Il Ferrarin, and possibly left unfinished. The work was also documented in sources as still being owned by the artist’s widow in 1893. The identification was made by comparing the painting with a slightly smaller autograph work, which recently appeared on the London antique market, with a subject very similar to that of Auction at Porta Borsari in Verona. Close examination confirmed the painting’s being unfinished, as well as the presence of several reworkings dating to a more recent period and characterised by hasty handling and the use of dense, thickly applied paint. Several figures, including the woman portrayed full-length and frontally, were also incorporated when the painting was reworked.

In this late perspective view the artist offers a finely detailed description of Veronese monuments and city life according to a formula that had guaranteed him considerable commercial success and important international commissions from the 1940s on. The arch of Porta Borsari, a testimony of the city’s links with ancient Rome, leads into the street lined with shops and the façades of buildings with ancient reliefs, while Torre del Gardello can be glimpsed in the distance. In the foreground, beneath the portico, a lively animated crowd is gathering to eagerly auction paintings, antiques and musical instruments. The choice of episode almost seems to be a pretext for the artist to display his antiquarian knowledge, which he first acquired by frequenting in his youth the Veronese art patron and collector Cesare Bernasconi, then consolidated in the 1940s by regularly acting as a consultant to art dealers and municipal museums. Ferrari also produced engravings, transposing a vast selection of Renaissance works to this medium; indeed, they provided the inspiration for the two youths at the window in this work, who are based on celebrated models of 16th century Venetian painting.

Sources:Archivio Storico Intesa Sanpaolo, Patrimonio Archivistico Cariplo, Opere d’arte. Atti d’acquisto ex Cariplo. Fald. 1/3, pratica no. 879 R/161; 10 maggio1955, Perizia di Giorgio Nicodemi (document not found)

Bibliography

Tesori d'arte delle banche lombarde, Associazione Bancaria Italiana, Milano, 1995, p. 280, ill. n. 536 (come Angelo Inganni);
Paola Zatti, Ignoto, Doni alla patria, in Sergio Rebora, a cura di, Le collezioni d’arte. L’Ottocento, Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio delle Provincie Lombarde, Milano, 1999, n. 123, pp. 207-208, ill.;
Andrea Tomezzoli, Verona, in Giuseppe Pavanello, a cura di, La Pittura nel Veneto. L’Ottocento, I, Electa, Milano, 2002, p. 341, n. 395, ill., nota 140

Elena Lissoni
 
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