71. Giuseppe Maria Rolli

Bologna 1645 – 1727 Bologna

Hercules Received into Olympus

Cropped by a former owner along the framing line made by the artist, this sheet is a preparatory drawing for the decoration of a ceiling. Using red chalk and then ink, Rolli depicted the Olympian Gods scattered amongst the clouds, preparing to welcome Hercules at the moment of his apotheosis. In this study, Rolli sought to arrange the figures in an upward sweep, and to fill the oval surface allotted to him in a balanced manner. This subject was particularly suitable for the illusionistic open skies painted on the ceilings of Baroque palaces in Bologna, for example the one in the Palazzo Pepoli Campogrande painted by Domenico Canuti (1669). This sheet has in fact frequently been compared with Canuti’s decoration.