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Art in Eighteenth-Century Rome


Pier Leone Ghezzi
Rome 1674 – 1755 Rome

Monsieur Le Vieux

pen and brown ink on paper
11 ¼ x 7 7/8 inches
285 x 200 mm

inscribed, verso, lower left: ‘M. Le Vieux’; watermark : three vertical circles, lowest encircling a cross



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 12
Madames Christian Ribière & Mareille Tuloup-Pascal, Marseilles, 5 June 1998, lot 381
Private Collection, Italy



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

This caricature depicts the French jeweler Rinaldo Le Vieux, born ca. 1664. He opened a goldsmith shop in Rome in 1697 and is recorded as living on Via de Corso with his wife, Giovanna Vaillant, and their children around 1705–07. On 7 June 1721, he was elected Chamberlain of the Guild of Goldsmiths despite being away from the city and living in France at the time. Ghezzi met Monsieur Le Vieux at the home of Cardinal de Polignac when Le Vieux later returned to Rome. A nearly identical caricature by Ghezzi of Monsieur du Le Vieux is located in the Vatican Library in the Ottoboniani Latini album, 3115, on page 180r. It is inscribed ‘Monsieur Leviu Orefice Francese, il quale fa il Mestiere in case, e va’ per tutte le Case di Dame di Roma, e fa’ il cavaliere, et io Cav. Ghezzi havendolo veduto dell’Em. Polignac me’ ne’ sono lassato Memoria il di 4 Gennaro 1725’, describing how Le Vieux worked from home and did business by charming Roman ladies and visiting them in their homes.

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