Two studies of a female Nude
  • Tommaso Minardi
  • Faenza 1787 - 1871 Rome
  • Two studies of a female Nude, circa 1820
  • Pencil, on beige paper
  • 268 × 230 mm
Private collection Rome
Stefano Susinno: L’Ottocento a Roma,
Milan 2009, Biblioteca d’Arte no. 20, ill. p. 280
Carlo Virgilio, Milan 2006

After studying with Giuseppe Zauli in his hometown of Faenza, Tommaso Minardi settled in Rome, where he soon made a name for himself as both a writer and a painter. The great models of Michelangelo, Leonardo, and Raphael exerted a particular fascination on the artist all of his life. For example, Minardi spent over ten years preparing the reproduction of the Last Judgement in the Sistine Chapel for the engraver G. Longhi. Upon the recommendation of Antonio Canova (1757-1822), he was entrusted in 1819 with the administration of the academy in Perugia. However, Minardi gave up this office in 1821when the famous Accademia di San Luca summoned him to Rome as a professor. Until 1858, generations of young painters from all over Europe would obtain their education there under his tutelage.

The sheet shown here is the only one ever published by Minardi with studies of a female nude, as at the beginning of the nineteenth century only male models were allowed at the official academies in papal Rome. Artists had to side-step this regulation with great discretion in private studios.

A certain resemblance of the sitter with the famous sculptural group The Three Graces (1817) as well as other works by his friend Canova has led to the suggestion that both artists favoured the same Roman model for years.