Giuseppe Maria Mitelli

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Giuseppe Maria Mitelli
A Man Destroying a Statue with a Hammer
Red chalk on paper.
9 7/16 x 7 5/8 inches (240 x 193 mm)
Gift of Margot and C. Leonard Gordon in honor of Cara Dufour Denison.
Watermark: Crowned coat of arms with seven balls inside, over letters "GA".
Margot and C. Leonard Gordon.

Ottawa, National Gallery of Canada, Bolognese Drawings in North American Collections 1500-1800, 1982, no. 72. repr.
Marcello Aldega and Margot Gordon, Old Master Drawings, New York and Rome, 1992, no. 44, repr.
Marcello Aldega and Margot Gordon with Daniele Benati, Bolognese Drawings: XVI-XIX centuries, New York and Rome, 2001, no. 30, repr.


A seventeenth-century Bolognese print maker of considerable fame, Giuseppe Maria Mitelli predominantly made engravings after paintings by Bolognese artists such as Albani, Carracci, and Guercino. He is, however, best known for his depictions of popular subjects, satires, and caricatures.
A Man Destroying a Statue with a Hammer is a preparatory drawing, in reverse, for print no. 20 of the Proverbi Figurati, a series of illustrations published in Bologna in 1678 with a dedication to Prince Francesco Maria of Tuscany. The publication is considered one of the artist's most unusual and interesting suites of engravings. Capturing the proverb "E buon da disfarla, ma non da farla" ("It is easier to destroy than to build"), this drawing portrays a muscular laborer who takes his hammer to an antique statue of a partially nude female deity.