(1750–99). Italian copyist. Regarded by his contemporaries as a prodigy because of his extraordinary ability as a draughtsman, Cades was born in Rome of a French father and trained at an early age under Domenico Corvi (1721–1803). Though his independent attitude led to his expulsion from his master's studio, he went on to establish himself as a copyist, winning custom from British travellers on the Grand Tour who wanted to return home with copies after old master drawings. His abilities were such that one of his early drawings after Raphael was bought by the director of the Dresden cabinet under the impression that it was the original. In the late 1770s, his studio became a prominent attraction for visitors to Rome. His compositions reflect an intimate understanding of the old masters, from Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci to Tibaldi, fused with the more solid neoclassical taste in fashion at the time. His deep religious convictions, remarked on by his contemporaries, are reflected in a style foreshadowing that of the proto-Romantics. In his way of blending different styles to suit the spirit of the age in which he was working he has often been compared to Fuseli.
From The Oxford Companion to Western Art in Oxford Reference.