25 x 18 cm
titled lower right
Attilio Simonetti, fashionable artist of the Maison Goupil and internationally renowned antiquarian, met Mariano Fortuny in 1858, when, still a student of the Academy of San Luca, he attends the evening sessions of the Accademia di Gigi, a basement in via Margutta where an elderly model organized study sessions of nude and costume at a good price. The Spanish artist, over five years old, turns out to be a close friend with whom to explore the Trastevere and the Roman countryside, in search of the most authentic Roman style, travel to Naples to meet Domenico Morelli and share that passion for ancient masters and objects ancient and exotic art, which will lead him to become one of the most important Roman art dealers between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Undoubted, therefore, is the role of Fortuny in the not only artistic but also cultural education of Simonetti, who will always proudly boast the title of his only pupil.
The pencil sketch is a perhaps posthumous tribute by Simonetti to his close friend, made on the basis of the famous portrait of Fortuny (Barcelona, Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya) painted by Federico de Madrazo in 1867, who created the iconographic model of the effigies illustrating the articles that have appeared in the international press. The thirty-year-old artist, with well-groomed hair and beard, is portrayed slightly in three-quarters with his gaze turned towards an imaginary interlocutor. Simonetti's drawing, unsigned and therefore not intended for sale, bears the inscription "portrait of M. Fortuny" at the bottom right to indicate the relationship with the famous source.
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