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Giorgio Vasari, Abundance, a drawing

 

Height: 388.000 mm
Width: 185.000 mm

PD 1900-5-15-3

Prints and Drawings

    Giorgio Vasari, Abundance, a drawing

    Italy, around AD 1544

    Abundance or Plenty carries a basket of fruit on her right shoulder and in her hair are ears of wheat. At her feet is a cornucopia, also filled with fruits which tumble from inside her cloak. The drawing, by Giorgio Vasari (1511-74), is on blue paper with an initial design in black chalk followed by pen and brown ink with brown wash.

    The complex pose and graceful figure is typical of Vasari's art. Fine pen lines reveal the form of her body underneath the drapery. The brown wash shows the shadows while the white heightening vividly shows the fall of light. Perhaps the most beautiful area of the drawing is the drapery flowing over her legs. Parallel strokes of white contrast with the dark pen lines in graceful loops and swirls.

    The drawing is for one of a series of figures for the refectory or dining hall of the convent of Monte Oliveto in Naples, commissioned when Vasari visited the city in 1544. Vasari was not only an artist but also an architect and writer. He was also important as an early collector of drawings. His most famous literary work is the Lives of the Artists which contains biographies of major Italian, and especially Florentine artists. Published first in 1550 and then, in a larger edition, in 1568, it is an essential source for the lives and works of many Italian artists from 1300 to Vasari's own lifetime.

    N. Turner, Florentine drawings of the six, exh. cat. (London, The British Museum Press, 1986)

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