Original or not?
Edited by Bettina Baumgärtel

We have also meanwhile gained further insights into possible pupils, copyists and followers of Kauffman already alive during her lifetime. Especially prominent among the young artists she fostered and instructed in Rome was Giovanni Battista Dell’Era (1765–1799) of Lombardy, whose copies and works in Kauffman’s style have yet to receive the attention they deserve. [Bibliography].

Wendy W. Roworth attributed an oil sketch depicting Eneas mourns Palatin killed by Turnus to Angelica Kauffman (Abb. 43, 44).

On the basis of stylistic and technical criteria, Bettina Baumgärtel now attributes the work to Giovanni Battista Dell’Era instead.

The questionable ascription to Kauffman led to misinterpretations of the work’s genesis, since Dell’Era’s oil sketch was regarded a preliminary stage of the final painting. In fact the sketch is not a bozzetto for the famous commission from Emperor Joseph II – i.e. a study carried out in preparation for the work’s execution on a large scale – but a copy by another hand, namely that of Dell’Era. The young artist will presumably have copied it from the oil study by Kauffman, which at the time was in her studio; it would later be purchased from the artist’s estate by the Innsbrucker Landesmuseum. The two large-scale history paintings executed for the Austrian emperor were destroyed by fire in the Führer Headquarters in Berlin in 1945.


Citation note:
Baumgärtel, Bettina: Angelica Kauffman – Original or not?, in: Angelika Kauffmann Research Project – online, https://www.angelika-kauffmann.de/en/original-or-not/ [add date of access here]

Abb. 43 G. B. Dell’Era nach Kauffmann: Aeneas trauert um den von Turnus getöteten Pallas, Evanders Sohn, New York, Kunsthandel © Bettina Baumgärtel, Archiv
Abb. 44 Aeneas trauert um den von Turnus getöteten Pallas, Evanders Sohn, Ölskizze, 1785, Innsbruck, Tiroler Landesmuseum Ferdinandeum, Inv. Nr. Gem 298 © Foto Tiroler Landesmuseen