Attributed to Giuseppe Galli Bibiena

This drawing of a luminous courtyard is an example of the Bibienas’ signature innovation, the scena per angolo, or “scene viewed at an angle.” The intersecting axes open outward, expanding beyond the sheet’s margins and inviting viewers to imagine the full breadth of the immense architecture. The attribution of drawings within the Bibiena workshop is a famously difficult problem, for the family members trained each other and numerous assistants, even cultivating a common “Bibiena style.” Formerly assigned to Ferdinando (1657–1743), this drawing is now generally believed to be by his son Giuseppe.

Attributed to Giuseppe Galli Bibiena (1695–1757)
A Cortile, ca. 1715–30
Pen and brown ink, with gray wash and blue watercolor, over graphite
Gift of Mrs. Donald M. Oenslager; 1982.75:126