Dante and Virgil Watching Charon Ferrying Souls to Hell
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Luigi Sabatelli ( Florence 1772 - Milan 1850 )
Luigi Sabatelli was an Italian painter, printmaker and draughtsman. After training in Florence in the Neo-classical tradition, he won a scholarship and settled in Rome between 1789 and 1794. His patron Tommaso Puccini was an intellectual and connoisseur who later became Director of the Gallerie Fiorentine. He was first attracted to the constructive rigour of François-Guillaume Ménageot, who taught at the Académie de France, but later he became interested in a more contemporary classicism in the style of David, and in particular in the rather austere variant represented by such pupils of David’s in Rome as François-Xavier Fabre. Sabatelli borrowed explicitly from Classical works, as can be seen in his reconstruction of the furnishings, clothing and hairstyles of the Roman period, and in his use of a type of drawing practised by the followers of David. His borrowings were more from the style of Classical art than from its philology, yet his paintings were nonetheless clearly liberated from tradition. There was an emphasis on severity and intensity, sparse, angular, compositions and pronounced contrasts.