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Art in Eighteenth-Century Rome


Pier Leone Ghezzi
Rome 1674 – 1755 Rome

L’Abbé Conti
1729 – 30

pen and brown ink on paper
12 3/8 x 7 7/8 inches
315 x 200 mm

inscribed, verso, lower left: ‘M. L’Ab. Conti / M. L’Ab. Conti’; watermark: three vertical circles topped with a crown, from top to bottom, each encircling a cross, ‘SP’ and ‘I’



Richard Neville Aldworth Neville (1717–1793), as part of two volumes purchased in Paris in 1763; by descent to his son
Richard Aldworth Griffin-Neville, 2nd Baron Braybrooke (1750–1825); by descent to
Robin Henry Charles Neville, 10th Lord Braybrooke (1932–2017); sold at
Sotheby’s, London, 10 December 1979, lot 99
Madames Christian Ribière & Mareille Tuloup-Pascal, Marseilles, 5 June 1998, lot 385
Private Collection, Italy



Maria C.D. da Empoli, Pier Leone Ghezzi: Un protagonista del Settecento romano, Rome, 2008, p. 53.

L’Abbé Conti served as the First Secretary to Cardinal de Polignac, and later became the Secretary of the Buongoverno in 1743. Ghezzi knew L’Abbé Conti for many years and created another caricature of him, now in the Vatican Library in the Ottoboniani Latini album, 3115, on page 159r. It is inscribed ‘V. Abbate Conti Auditore dell’Em. V. Card. Di Polignach fato da’ me Cav. Ghezzi a di 12 8bre 1726 in questo oggi Primo di Aprile 1743 si ritrova Prelato Segretario del Buongoverno.’ Both caricatures portray L’Abbé Conti in an almost identical stance, with the two major differences being his facial expression and the placement of his right hand. In the Vatican image, L’Abbé Conti is shown holding a hat, as opposed to raising his hand in blessing as is shown in the Polignac sheet.

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