Giovanni Ambrogio Figino Album

This album contains twenty-one chalk drawings of portrait heads by Giovanni Ambrogio Figino. Born in Milan, Figino became a primary representative of the Lombard school of painting in the late sixteenth century, known for his draftsmanship, portraits, and complex religious scenes. This particular album is one of six surviving assemblages by Padre Sebastiano Resta (1635–1714); a Roman priest, collector, and connoisseur of old master drawings, who amassed close to 5,000 works in his lifetime. The album’s second owner was Francesco Maria Gabburri (1675–1743), whose 1722 inventory of the album listed twenty four drawings, although only twenty one remained by the time the album came to the Morgan.

The album features an eighteenth-century red morocco binding, with floral borders tooled in gold on both covers, the edges of the boards, and the spine. Each drawing is mounted on an album page and offset by a border of brown wash. A title page, introduction, and a letter are also included, preceding the drawings. Padre Resta’s commentary is at the lower edge of each folio. Rendered in red and black chalk, the drawings primarily capture subjects in profile, while folio 9r, 12r, 11r, 13r, 18r, 19r, 20r, and 22r present studies of standing figures and, in some instances, moments from biblical or narrative scenes, each of which epitomize Figino’s reputation for intricate and careful draftsmanship.

Giovanni Ambrogio Figino
1552 or 3–1608
Album
Red and black chalk on laid paper.
Album: 8 3/4 x 5 3/4 inches (221 x 146 mm); folio: 8 3/8 x 5 1/2 inches (214 x 141 mm)
Purchased as the gift of Anne and Carl Stern.
1964.1