With its approximately 3.400 drawings and over 10.000 prints, the section Italian Drawings and Prints before 1800 is one of the most important in Europe. Particular focal points of the collection are Genoese and Bolognese drawings as well as the unique collection of 164 sheets by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo and his workshop.
Genoa and Venice
From the collection of the Genoese Count Jacopo Durazzo come around 300 drawings, including works by the Mannerist Luca Cambiaso, who developed a unique style with his tightly outlined pen strokes and his heads inspired by cubic forms. The 164 sheets by Tiepolo and his family from the collection of Giovanni Domenico Bossi, an associate of the artist, form a special highlight with the group of so-called "Ricordi". These are re-drawings or commemorative drawings of individual figures of the Würzburg frescoes, made while still on the scaffolding, for documentation and later re-use by the artist.
The Schloss Fachsenfeld collection, which has been on permanent loan to the Staatsgalerie since 1976, is another focal point of the collection with its approximately 2.000 Bolognese drawings, including Guercino's unique complex of drapery and robe studies. In them, the artist works with red chalk and white heightening after the living model. The robe and its folds become an independent representation that develops an additional aesthetic appeal on the blue paper.
The collection of Italian prints includes all aspects of this medium, from the beginnings with Andrea Mantegna to the large-format etchings by Giovanni Battista Piranesi. Also noteworthy are the so-called clair-obscur woodcuts in which an attempt is made to achieve a colourful effect with various woodblocks printed on top of each other. A master of this technique, which he also patented, was Ugo da Carpi.