Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    Giovanni Ghisolfi (Italian, 1613-1683)
    A ruined classical temple of the Tuscan order with figures; Two classical temples in ruins with statue, bas-relief and figures (a pair), circa 1650-60
    Oil on canvas
    28-3/4 x 38-5/8 inches (73.0 x 98.1 cm)

    David Corley Interior Design, Dallas, as of 1999 (sold as 'Attributed to Viviano Codazzi');
    Private collection, Dallas, purchased from the above, October 1999.

    These pendant pictures are a new addition to the oeuvre of Giovanni Ghisolfi, which is best known for architectural capricci that unite mostly fanciful ruins with antique statues, bas-reliefs, as well as genre figures in the tradition of Salvator Rosa and the Rome-based school of Flemish and Dutch painters known as the Bamboccianti. Years later, this type of subject matter gained wider prominence at the hands of the eighteenth-century artist, Giovanni Paolo Panini, who derived a certain inspiration from the painter.

    Giovanni Ghisolfi was born in Milan, the son of Giuseppe Ghisolfi, an architect from Piacenza. He studied with Girolamo Ghignolo and learned architectural painting from his uncle, Paolo Antonio Volpini. In 1650 he traveled to Rome, where he befriended Salvator Rosa, but was called away to Lombardy nine years later. He then produced fresco cycles at the Certosa di Pavia (1661) and Vicenza (1664), Milan and finally Varese (1660s, 1680). In 1664, he is again recorded in Rome. On Ghisolfi, see the following monograph, which includes a catalogue of roughly 100 paintings: A. Busiri Vici, Giovanni Ghisolfi (1623-1683), un pittore milanese di rovine romane (ed. by F. Cosmelli), Rome, 1992.

    The present pair is notable for its massive Roman temple architecture, which, in their tonalities and scale, recalls the ruin paintings of Viviano Codazzi (c. 1603-1672). As was typical of Ghisolfi's compositions, each work comprises a distant, panoramic view, almost no middle plane, and an artfully arranged foreground consisting of geometric forms (reliefs, cornices, plinths), inhabited by variously-posed, gesticulating rustic figures. The columned renderings set in complementary perspective in each work are typical of Ghisolfi's pendant pictures. A comparable pair, of the same size and approximate date, belong to the Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen. These were acquired in Rome in 1669 (that is, during Ghisolfi's lifetime) for Frederiksborg Castle (now the Nationalhistoriske Museum) in Copenhagen (Busiri Vici nos. 56-57), where they remain on deposit.

    The staffage of the present pictures (as well as of the Copenhagen pair) recalls those in works by the artist's friend and colleague, Salvatore Rosa, especially the latter's set of 62 engravings, known as the Figurine, which was published in 1656.

    Condition Report*: Temple on right: re-varnished canvas; minor speckled abrasions in lower left corner; under UV light: in-painting along left, right, and lower edges and in upper left corner; scattered in-painting throughout sky.
    Temple on left: re-varnished canvas; 1/2" vertical partial tear along lower edge beneath standing figure; 2 x 1" vertical repair in lower center between standing figure and running dog; 4" abrasion in lower left corner; under UV light: in-painting throughout the sky, notably in upper left corner, along top edge, and between columns; thin lines of in-paint in lower corners.
    Framed Dimensions 45 X 35.25 Inches
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. Heritage does not guarantee the condition of frames and shall not be liable for any damage/scratches to frames, glass/acrylic coverings, original boxes, display accessories, or art that has slipped in frames. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2020
    29th Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,664

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $300,000 (minimum $49), plus 20% of any amount between $300,000 and $3,000,000, plus 12.5% of any amount over $3,000,000 per lot.

    Sold on May 29, 2020 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 14 days left to consign to the 2021 October 28 Lalique & Art Glass Signature Auction!

    Learn about consigning with us

    I knew I could count on you.
    Marc E.,
    Berlin, Germany
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search