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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Offering of the day: A Lovely Watercolor by an Italian Artist Gherardo Cibo (1512-1597)

Gherardo Cibo (1512-1597)
Travellers approaching a rock formation, a mountainous river landscape beyond with numbers '.49' and '125'
Red chalk, pen and black ink, watercolor, bodycolor on paper
8 3/8” x 11 1/4”

Born into an important noble Genoese family, Cibo was initially destined for the priesthood, but decided to abandon an ecclesiastical career to pursue his interests as a musician and botanist. He travelled to Rome, Bologna and Germany as a young man, eventually settling permanently in Arcevia in 1540, where his mother, Viger Bianca Maria Della Rovere, may have already lived with his sister Hortense.

Cibo is known to have created one of the earliest herbariums, a collection of dead plants mounted on paper, for the purpose of studying the natural foliage of his native Italy, and for medical use. Cibo began to collect for his herbaria in 1532, and it wasn’t until the latter half of the sixteenth century that institutional herbaria were established in Europe. Greatly inspired by the flora he collected, Cibo created graceful drawings and paintings of the natural world. The coloring of this landscape is reminiscent of some of his botanical studies.

Works by Cibo were previously attributed to an artist named Messer Ulisse Severino da Cingoli (see J. Bolten, 'Messer Ulisse Severino da Cingoli', Master Drawings, VII, 1969, pp. 123-48). It was not until 1989 that Arnold Nesselrath correctly attributed these drawings to Cibo(Gherardo Cibo, alias Ulisse Severino da Cingoli, exh. cat., San Severino Marche, Centro studi Lorenzoe Jacopo Salimbeni per le arte figurative, 1989). 

As a landscape painter Cibo is considered among the major sources of the Marche and the early landscapes of Federico Barocci.

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