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Melchiorre Gherardini made this drawing as the title leaf of his album “Capricci”. He was born in Milan in 1607, and was closely linked in his artistic career to Giovan Battista Crespi, known as Cerano, his master and father-in-law. On Cerano’s death, he inherited his workshop and house, where he is documented as resident with his wife from 1633 on. This was also the year when he adopted the byname Ceranino in order to celebrate the memory of the great figure of 17th-century painting and the Milanese Borromeo tradition. He died in 1668 after producing a vast amount of work of a primarily religious character based on the models of Cerano with a particular focus of the theatrical elements [1].

As base for the two figures, two stylised snails are shown. One dextral, the other sinistral; the animals have an eye-spot and two tentacles only. This album “Capricci” is now in the collection of the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Rennes [2].


[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melchiorre_Gherardini.
[2] MBR, inv. 794.1.5647. Joconda | escargot (réponse #28).