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The Horne album drawings

Until February 2017 the Horne museum in Florence will be hosting an unmissable collection of Tiepolo drawings from the Horne Album archive.

Among the most famous and successful painters of the 18th century, Giambattista Tiepolo was born in Venice in 1696 and died in Madrid in 1770. He is particularly renowned for his monumental sets of decorative cycles in palaces and stately homes, including Udine, Venice, Vicenza, Milan, Würzburg and Madrid. The full graphic corpus, which documents his unceasing artistic activity, finds in the Horne Album an extraordinary testimony to the Italian taste for collections. Its restoration, as well as preservation over time, offers an exceptional opportunity to showcase a selection of 26 drawings which will be temporarily removed from their historical support.

Herbert P. Horne (London 1864-Florence 1916) bought the album at the London antiquarian Parsons & Sons in 1903 for 21 pounds. The book contains around 40 drawings, some of which on watermarked paper, variously dated but for the most part attributable to 1740-50. It contains allegorical and mythological figures, scenes from ancient history, fantasy and satire, almost all ink works by the artist with traces of black pencil in fluid brushstrokes and varying intensity, allowing for wonderful chiaroscuro effects.

The drawings from the Horne Album capture the artist’s relentless pursuit of graphic inventions in a proliferation of themes and compositional solutions, the result of the creative genius of a master, a document to both his extraordinary ability and his need to resort to a wide repertoire of ideas in order to respond promptly to pressing commissions.

Once the Horne museum exhibition ends the album will be re-assembled by collating the separate sheets: 47 drawings will be put back together, except for the Apotheosis of Hercules, which will be mounted on a frame to better preserve it, as it was originally folded into the book. The project will bring the Horne Album back to the shape it had when our refined English collector purchased it, thus allowing its preservation over time and for posterity to enjoy it.