Large 8vo (200 mm x 130 mm): v, , 151 pp.,  p. of Index. With 13 folding engraved plates. Partially uncut copy. Bound in green paper over boards. Some light foxing throughout. Very good. The first and only edition of an illustrated manual for drawing and painting with a focus on composition and landscapes featuring archeological ruins, written by the neoclassical painter, writer, archeologist, and salonnière Marianna Candidi Dionigi. Dionigi’s artwork can be found in the collections of Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Palazzo della Cancelleria, Accademia di San Luca, all in Rome, and the Reggia di Caserta in Naples.
Marianna Candidi Dionigi (1756- 1826), born to an aristocratic and erudite Roman family, was educated by the famous Jesuit Raimondo Cunich. An expert musician, she was also well-read and fluent in Greek, Latin, English, and French. Married at 15, she had seven children, yet enjoyed a prolific intellectual career. She founded a salon at her home at 310 Via del Corso in Rome, which became one of the most prominent meeting places for Italian and foreign intellectuals and artists. An architect Giuseppe Valadier, artists Francesco Milizia and Antonio Canova, an erudite philologist Giacomo Leopardi, archaeologist Ennio Quirino Visconti, and the English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley were among the salon’s regulars, to name but a few.
Dionigi’s neoclassical paintings were esteemed by her contemporaries, and she was a member of several academies, including the prestigious Accademia di San Luca in Rome, and even of one American art academy—in Charleston, South Carolina. In addition to landscape painting, she had a great interest in archaeology and published an archaeological work, titled Viaggi in alcune città del Lazio che diconsi fondate dal re Saturno, illustrated with 50 engravings after her designs, in 1809.
Her biographer Sergio Rinaldo Tufi described Precetti elementari sulla pittura de' paesi as exemplary of “her neoclassical taste for normative aesthetics”, calling it “one of the very few treatises dedicated to the art of the landscape, an explicit valorization of the ‘genre of country painting,’ in an era in which the greatest interest (also in theoretical writings) was undoubtedly reserved for figure painting.” Dionigi “highlights drawing as the foundation of landscape work, with the related studies of perspective, horizon, point of sight, etc. Simplicity, good distribution of chiaroscuro, fused and harmonized colors are the main characteristics of her work… To achieve a harmonious composition, it is important to consider coherence between the local environment and subject matter, as well as coherence between the season and subject matter. Additionally, the "distribution of light" and the fusion of "first intention" and "reasoned" composition should be taken into account. The pursuit of the sublime can be achieved through “diligent study of reality,” and beauty can be found through comparison. It is worth noting that at the end of the work, C. identifies herself as a "dilettante" with a primary devotion to her home and family.” (Treccani)
OCLC locates copies of the book at California State University, Getty, National Gallery of Art, Frick, University of Delaware, Winthertur, University of Illinois, Princeton, Lehigh.
References: Sergio Rinaldo Tufi, “Candidi, Marianna,” in Treccani, Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, Vol. 17 (1974); Anna Pasqualini, “Marianna Candidi Dionigi tra letteratura e antiquaria,” in A.P. Luca Attenni (a cura di), Omaggio a Marianna Dionigi, Atti del Convegno di studio, Lanuvio, Aula Consiliare, 22 maggio 2005, pp. 23-39.
The first and only edition of an illustrated manual for drawing and painting with a focus on composition and landscapes featuring archeological ruins, written by the neoclassical painter, writer, archeologist, and salonnière Marianna Candidi Dionigi.
Dionigi’s artwork can be found in the collections of Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Palazzo della Cancelleria, Accademia di San Luca, all in Rome, and the Reggia di Caserta in Naples.