GHERARDO CIBO (Genoa 1512-1600 Arcevia)
Studies of trees
inscribed ‘terra rossa/ marchis. p[er] terminar’ ‘marchisita’ and with number ‘12’ (upper left)

pen and brown ink, brush and red ink, brown and red wash, heightened with white on blue paper
812 x 1114 in. (21.5 x 28.5 cm)
Anonymous sale; Sotheby’s, London, 27 April, 1960, part of lots 1-12.
with Schaeffer Galleries, New York.
J. Bolten, ‘Messer Ulisse Severino da Cingoli, a bypath in the history of art’, Master Drawings, VII, 1970, no. 2, p. 144, no. 122 (as Ulisse Severino da Cingoli).
G. Mangani and L. Tongiorgi Tomasi, Gherardo Cibo. Dilettante di Botanica e Pittore di ‘Paesi’. Arte, scienza e illustrazione botanica nel XVI secolo, Ancona, 2003, no. 349.
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Lot Essay

This delightful drawing was part of a portfolio, variously referred to as the San Quirico or the A. Bruce Thomson album, dismembered and sold at Sotheby’s in 1960. Although the sheets were dispersed at auction, most of the contents of the portfolio is known from photographs made before the sale. At that time the 42 drawings were generically attributed to the Italo-Flemish school. Some years afterwards, Jaap Bolten identified the author of the drawings as Messer Ulisse Severino da Cingoli, a nobleman and amateur draftsman from the Marche region, but the true identity of the author of the drawings was discovered only some thirty years later (A. Nesselrath, L. Tongiorgi Tomasi, and C. Denker Nesselrath, Gherardo Cibo, alias Ulisse Severino da Cingoli. Disegni e opere da collezioni italiane, exhib. cat., San Severino Marche, 1989). Cibo was a nobleman, a student of botany and a talented draftsman. Born in Genoa (or perhaps in Rome), he studied in Rome first and later in Bologna, attending the lectures of Luca Ghini, botanist and professor at the university. Cibo’s botanical illustrations preserved in elegant manuscript volumes are the most impressive feature of his œuvre, but we know from his personal correspondence that throughout his life the artist was also sending numerous individual drawings of plants and landscapes to his brother and to other naturalists. The careful rendering of the trees on this sheet, together with the annotations under the images, reveal Cibo’s acute eye as an observer and recorder of nature.
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