Carletto Caliari

Venice 1570 - 1596 Venice

Portrait of a Young Monk

Black, White and red chalk on blue paper.

With inscription '400 Aqueta' (verso).

7 5/8 x 5 1/4 inches


Zaccaria Sagredo (L. 2103a), Venice, his inscription ‘Carletto C.’ (recto) and numbering ‘C.C. n° 48’ on the backing.

Carletto Caliari was the son of the painter, Paolo Veronese. The young artist trained with his father and Jacopo Bassano. Caliari’s interest in executing portraits in colored chalks is believed to have stemmed from Bassano, who initiated the genre. 

This drawing is part of a group of portrait studies first described as by Leandro Bassano by the Tietzes. More recent scholars, like Alessandro Ballarin, Terisio Pignatti, Roger Rearick or Konrad Oberhuber, have however supported the traditional attribution to Caliari. 

All the drawings from this group have in common a small inscription on the versoof the sheets describing the technique, alternatively lapisor aqueta, preceded by a number, in the present case “400 aqueta”. Some, like the present one, also bear Sagredo’s attribution to “Carletto C.”.

The drawings originated from the so-called “Sagredo-Borghese” albums, probably formed in the late 17th century by Zaccaria Sagredo, a Venetian patrician who collected drawings in large amounts. The bulk of the collection was probably formed of entire studios, such as Strozzi’s or Veronese’s. Many of the drawings by Veronese, and his three sons, bear the characteristic double numbering of the collection. One is on theversoof the sheets and the other on the mounts next to the drawing (C.C., for Carletto Caliari). The albums were probably brought back to France by the artist-amateur Jean-Jacques de Boissieu in the early 19thCentury and were dispersed in Lyon in 1911. 

It has been suggested that drawings such as the present one were done as finished works of art rather than working studies for painted portraits. Other sheets from this group are now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the British Museum, London, The Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, The National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin and the Fondation Custodia, Paris.