A seventeenth-century Bolognese print maker of considerable fame, Giuseppe Maria Mitelli is best known for his depictions of popular subjects, satires, and caricatures. This chalk study is preparatory for his Proverbi Figurati of 1678, 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 demolishing a statue of a partially nude female deity.
Giuseppe Maria Mitelli (1634–1718), A Man Destroying a Statue with a Hammer, ca. 1678. 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, 2009.383.