This is a Drawing. It was designed by Giuseppe Barberi. It is dated ca. 1810 and we acquired it in 1938. Its medium is pen and brown ink, brush and brown wash, graphite on off-white laid paper. It is a part of the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department.
This design for a writing set was intended to be executed in silver. Directions for the craftsperson are scrawled under a small plan in the upper right corner. The scheme resembles a fountain, with Venus rising from her bath at the center. Basins at each of the four corners would contain seals, wax, ink and sand wells, a candle holder, nibs and pens. The sketch at the upper left represents a drawer handle for a hidden writing paper compartment. Rippling strokes of brown wash indicate which surfaces were to be rendered in imitation of water.
Barberi invented and drew fountains throughout his career. Although many were architectural fantasies, he did submit a project design for a Roman fountain to Pius VI in 1778. The motif of the reclining river god, seen here, relates to several of his fountain designs.
Barberi is known for his fluid sketching technique with pen and ink and his dramatic use of brush and wash for shading. This drawing reflects his early training with the goldsmith Luigi Valadier. The artist drew tirelessly but, despite his technical virtuosity, received few actual commissions and thus most of his bold designs exist only on paper.
It is credited
Museum purchase through gift of various donors and from Eleanor G. Hewitt Fund.
Our curators have highlighted 2 objects that are related to this one.
Its dimensions are
Image: 30.7 x 44.9 cm (12 1/16 x 17 11/16 in.) Mat: 40.6 x 55.9 cm (16 x 22 in.) Frame H x W x D: 44.8 x 60.3 x 2.5 cm (17 5/8 in. x 23 3/4 in. x 1 in.) Mount: 34.1 x 45.7 cm (13 7/16 in. x 18 in.)
It has the following markings
Verso: Cooper Union Museum for the Arts of Decoration (Lugt #457d)
It is inscribed
Inscribed in pen and brown ink, right: Pianta di una Scrivania da/ farsi in Argento figurando una/ fontana di venere al Bagno/ A Bagnarola vota p [er] metere Sigilli e Cera/ di Spagna B. calamaio e polverino p[er] campanello D/ Sito della bugia E Sito ove/ un tiratore capace p[er] la Grandezza/ della carta de scrivere si tira/ via il fiume con/ chiglia ove sta il [cancelled] fime e tirtore Inscribed in pen and brown ink, left: Oleo (Aeolo] vento Zefiro vento/ F sito ove e l'altra conchiglia, si tira/ la conchiglia e le due figure che/ regano l'orlogio some si trove alla/ L [ettera] G e si trova ed un sito per le penne/ temperino e stecchia H il piano sera [?] lavarto a Rabeschi cisellati/ I siti lavorati in forma di aqua/ vale a dire li quatro siti e quello/ sotto la bagnarola Numbered on the lining, upper right: 31
Cite this object as
Drawing, Inkstand; Designed by Giuseppe Barberi (Italian, 1746–1809); Italy; pen and brown ink, brush and brown wash, graphite on off-white laid paper; Image: 30.7 x 44.9 cm (12 1/16 x 17 11/16 in.) Mat: 40.6 x 55.9 cm (16 x 22 in.) Frame H x W x D: 44.8 x 60.3 x 2.5 cm (17 5/8 in. x 23 3/4 in. x 1 in.) Mount: 34.1 x 45.7 cm (13 7/16 in. x 18 in.); Museum purchase through gift of various donors and from Eleanor G. Hewitt Fund; 1938-88-8189
This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Hewitt Sisters Collect.