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For over thirty years Arti Grafiche Amilcare Pizzi S.p.A. in Milan has published a series entitled Grandi disegni italiani (Italian Master Drawings), consisting of large, beautifully produced volumes drawn from museum collections worldwide, introducing and encapsulating each museum's holdings of Italian drawings. In 2004, the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s collection is featured in this lauded series, and to celebrate the occasion an exhibition of the works presented in the publication is on view. This exhibition draws largely on two acquisitions that have greatly enhanced the Museum’s reputation in the field of Italian art. The Anthony Morris Clark Bequest, received in 1978, is comprised primarily of eighteenth-century Roman drawings. In 1984, the Museum acquired a large and diverse collection of mostly Italian old master drawings from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. These works date from the sixteenth century through the mid-nineteenth century, with particular strengths in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Each of the major Italian regional schools is represented, including Milan, Bologna, Florence, Venice, Genoa, Rome, and Naples.
Over the years, the Museum has also acquired many fine Italian works in the early modern and contemporary fields, so that the selection for Philadelphia’s Grandi disegni italiani volume includes drawings from c. 1540 through 2001, with fine examples by artists like Francesco de'Rossi (Salviati), Girolamo da Carpi, Guercino, Pietro Testa, Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione, Giambattista and Giandomenico Tiepolo, Pompeo Batoni, Giuseppe Cades, Giovanni Boldini, Vincenzo Gemito, Amedeo Modigliani, Francesco Clemente, Carlo Maria Mariani, and Giuseppe Penone.