The volume entitled La Via Appia nei disegni di Carlo Labruzzi alla Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (The Appian Way in the drawings of Carlo Labruzzi at the Vatican Apostolic Library) allows us to understand and appreciate an important group of drawings by Carlo Labruzzi (Rome 1748-Perugia 1817) kept at the Vatican Apostolic Library. The authors set about to publish the entire corpus of the 226 monochrome watercolour drawings, carried out by the Roman painter to illustrate the sites along theAppian Way he had visited during the course of a journey from Rome to Benevento in the autumn of 1789. In this journey he was joined by Sir Richard Colt Hoare from Stourhead, who had commissioned the paintings: the latter was well known for his historic studies and his love of the classical Latin authors as well as being a sophisticated connoisseur.The drawings of Carlo Labruzzi were first discovered in 1903 by Thomas Ashby, but have since been made public only in a partial and fragmentary manner through various articles and short papers. Only a limited number of the drawings and watercolours have been so far published, with each image correlated to a brief description. Most importantly, the drawings have never been shown alongside the other views of the Appian Way by the same Labruzzi, which are kept in Accademia di San Luca and in the Museum of Rome, in London at the British Museum, and in other renowned international institutions.
The authors intend to describe the genesis of the collection of the Vatican Library, (which is undoubtedly the most complete and the most artistically superior in quality compared to the other collections) and, at the same time, to give an updated version of both Carlo Labruzzi's biography and his artistic production, particularly in light of the recent discoveries in the archives by the very authors.Thanks to these, the authors can now safely define him as one of the most original personalities of the history of painting in Rome between the end of the eighteenth century and the beginning of the following century.
Carlo Labruzzi was also an engraver, a talented one: an entire section of the book, written by Barbara Jatta, is dedicated to the engraving activities of Labruzzi, which have so far never been researched and represent, however, an important part of his entire artistic work. The book is enriched by an original appendix of documents from the archives, researched by Pier Andrea De Rosa, that relate to various events of the painter's life and profession. We must emphasize that this is an original work, brought about thanks to extended research by the two authors, which is intended for both the national community but also for the international one, considering the participation of numerous institutes of various countries. The English translation of numerous papers of this volume will encourage the international Community of scholars, who have long been awaiting a study/catalogue of the works of this esteemed Roman painter, to benefit from this unpublished and valuable volume.
Professor Lorenzo Quilici, renowned archaeologist and specialist of the Appian Way, was kind enough to collaborate with the authors on this book.
The publication of this volume, a fine edition of the Vatican Apostolic Library, was possible thanks to the generous contributions of the Fondazione Roma-Arte-Musei and of the Fondazione Cavalieri di Colombo.