Giovanni Francesco Romanelli (1610-1662)
The Abduction of the Sabine Women
The Continence of Scipion, c. 1655
Gouache watercolor on black pencil stroke and red chalk
12.5 x 41.5 cm (each)
Paris, Musée du Louvre
Photo : AuctionArt Rémy Le Fur & associés
26/3/14 - Acquisitions - Paris, Musée du Louvre - The Musée du Louvre made a very fine purchase today at Drouot by pre-empting for 60,000€ (before charges) at the Auction Art  two drawings by Romanelli, representing respectively The Abudction of the Sabine Women and The Continence of Scipion, preparatory studies for the frescoes on the ceiling of the Salle de Septime Sévère at the Louvre. Indeed, their quality would merit their addition to the exhibition "Les plafonds parisiens au XVIIe siècle" currently on view at the museum (see article).
Mazarin was responsible for bringing this student of Pietro da Cortona to Paris in 1646, commissioning him to execute the décor for the gallery in his palace. The painter depicted scenes from the Trojan war and Ovid’s Metamorphoses there. Then, between 1655 and 1659, he was placed in charge of the décor for the summer apartment of the Queen Mother Anne d’Autriche at the Louvre. He produced the frescoes and Michel Anguier the sculptures. The antechamber evokes the Seasons, there follows the vestibule, also known as the Salon de la Paix, then the Grand Cabinet and finally the bedroom revealing two heroic women, Judith and Esther.
In the Grand Cabinet, known also as the Salle de Septime Sévère, of which there are eleven known preparatory drawings for the décor, the artist recounts episodes from Roman history, generally illustrating exempla virtutis : The Abduction of the Sabine Women, Mucius Scaevola before Lars Porsena, The Continence of Scipion, The Senate Bringing the Purple Robes to Cincinnatus. In the studies acquired by the Louvre, the composition is already determined, only the choice of the colors varies slightly. As for Michel Anguier, he represented Romulus and Remus, Marcus Curtius Throwing Himself on the Flames and The Innocence of the Vestal Virgin Tuccia.