Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini
The Death of the Stag of Sylvia, c. 1720
sepia wash, ink on paper
13.2 x 19.3 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Gift of the Women's Committee
Though born in Venice where he trained briefly, Pellegrini’s early travels to Vienna to assist his teacher, and then to England at the invitation of Charles Montagu, later 1st Duke of Manchester, saw him establish his reputation largely outside of Italy. In England Pellegrini worked on a variety of projects, including fresco and painting commissions for the residences of Charles Montagu; Charles Howard, 3rd Earl of Carlisle; and Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington. Working at the height of Rococo taste in England, he made set designs for the Haymarket and other theatres with Marco Ricci who had travelled to London with Pellegrini. The shooting and death of the stag of Diana is well known in Greek mythology; however, it appears that the stag in this drawing is the one belonging to Sylvia that was killed by Ascanius. The event, which led to great bloodshed and involved Juno and the fury Alecto, is documented in Book IV of Virgil’s Aeneid.