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.
Giuseppe Maria Mitelli