LABRUZZI, Carlo
(b. 1748, Roma, d. 1817, Perugia)

Biography

Italian painter, draughtsman and engraver. He spent his early years as a painter at Nuremberg but had returned before 1780 to Rome, where he was elected a member of the Congregazione dei Virtuosi del Pantheon. In 1786 he became a member of the Accademia di San Luca. He painted portraits, genre scenes and altarpieces but was best known for his landscapes, which are in the style of Claude, though with the characteristically lighter colours of the 18th century. In the 1780s he was particularly popular with British Grand Tourists in Rome.

In 1789 Sir Richard Colt Hoare (1758-1838), for whom he made souvenir drawings and watercolours, invited Labruzzi to accompany him along the Appian Way, following the itinerary outlined by the Roman poet Horace in his description of a journey made to Brindisi in 38 BC. Labruzzi was to make drawings of the remains of the ancient tombs and villas along their route. In the event the enterprise was cut short by inclement weather and Labruzzi's ill health, but 226 pen-and-wash drawings were completed and bound into 5 volumes by Colt Hoare. A second set of drawings, which are less highly finished and perhaps served as preparatory studies, were kept by Labruzzi. Labruzzi did not provide a purely topographical record of the Classical remains but represented the overgrown ruins in a picturesque and idealized manner. Publication of the drawings was begun by Labruzzi, who engraved 24 of the plates himself.

There are various drawings by Labruzzi in Rome (Vatican, Biblioteca Apostolica) and London (British Museum). The publishers Franenholz of Nuremberg and dell'Armi of Rome engaged Labruzzi to make copies of the frescoes then attributed to Masaccio in the basilica of San Clemente in Rome (now given to Masolino). He executed classicized linear illustrations of the main compositions of the Life of St Catherine cycle and detailed studies of the heads and hands in subtly modulated cross-hatching. In 1814 Labruzzi was appointed director of the Accademia di Belle Arti in Perugia, a position he held for three years until his death.



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