Lithograph, sheet 340 x 420mm. Creases into image. Small marginal tears from above and left.
In an extraordinarily vibrant and busy image, a man dressed as a Turkish Sultan stands at its centre in a carriage under a canopy, surrounded by a large entourage of people, including a standard-bearer and trumpeter, some on foot, others on horseback. They are dressed in a variety of costumes and all process to the caves of Cervaro, in the Lazio region of Italy near Rome. At the beginning of the 19th century most of the foreign artists coming to Rome settled down close to the Spanish Steps and in the neighbourhood of Piazza Barberini. The 'Society of the Ponte Molle' grew out of this artistic community, dominated by German artists. Under its auspices a yearly fancy dress procession to the Cervaro grottos was organised, called by the Romans 'Carnevale dei Tedeschi'. Part of the festival was apparently an 'Olympiad', some kind of competition for artists. This yearly tradition continued until 1890. This print represents the twentieth such Olympics, the stone above the cave mouth inscribed 'XX Olympiade'. Two German names are also inscribed, one of which is 'Nerly', the Friedrich Nerly (1807 - 1878) to whom the print is attributed. Perhaps he won the competition that year, and as victor was given the privilege of painting this image of the festivities. He may indeed have placed himself in the picture, in the foreground to the left, where an artist holding his folio surveys the scene. Certainly, judging by the prostrate bodies surrounded by barrels and drinking vessels, a lot of alcohol was consumed by the generally young male revellers. A very rare and interesting print.
[Ref: 8052] £360.00