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GIGANTE, Achille (1823-1846)
[Large Signed Pencil Drawing of the Castle in Scaletta Zanclea, Sicily, Captioned in Pencil]: Castello di Scaletta.
Ca. 1843. Pencil on paper, heightened in white, ca. 27,5x43 cm (11x17 in). Signed in the right lower corner, captioned and noted on lower margin and on the mount. Mounted in a period mat within double pencil borders. A very good drawing. A skillful pencil drawing by a listed artist Achille Gigante shows Castello di Scaletta Zanclea in Sicily; the castle stands on a hill in the distance, and ruins of a fortress "believed to be built by the Saracens" are seen in the foreground. "The castle Ruffo Ruffo di Scaletta Zanclea, an imposing three-story building, was originally founded by the Swabians as a military fort in 1220. During the next centuries the castle belonged to several lords (Swabians, Aragonese and Spanish) and in 1672 it was passed to the Ruffo family which used the castle as a hunting lodge, keeping its structure intact. The castle was constructed on a hill leaning towards the sea, with high inaccessible slopes, except for the east side overlooking the Strait of Messina" (esplorasicilia online). Achille Gigante was an Italian lithographer and designer of acquaforte. He came from a family of artists: his father Gaetano Gigante (Naples, 1770-1840) was an Italian painter and engraver, active mainly in Naples; brother - Giacinto Gigante, one of the main painters of the School of Posillipo; another brother, Ercole Gigante (1815-1860) - a landscape painter (Wikipedia). Achille Gigante was known for his etchings published in several illustrated editions about Italy or Naples, e.g. "Vues d'Italie: recueil artificiel de 24 gravures et 1 crayon" (N.p., 1842-1852); "Viaggio da napoli a Castellammare, con 42 vedute incise all' acqua forte" (Naples, 1845), "Napoli e i luoghi celebri delle sue vicinanze" (Naples, 1845). Two similar drawings sold for 3,290 GBP at Christies in 2003.