- Museum number
Design for the apotheosis of Saint Francis of Assisi; including two figures sitting at either end of altar, at centre winged figure standing and lifting on shoulders a globe surrounded by cherubic figures
Pen and brown ink and grey wash over black chalk, incised
- Production date
- 1700-1726 (c)
Height: 477 millimetres
Width: 324 millimetres (max;rounded at top)
- Curator's comments
- Modified text from McDonald 2013
Two of the most significant artists working in the baroque style in Madrid into the eighteenth century were almost exact contemporaries, Teodoro Ardemans and José Benito Churriguera (1664–1725). The lesser-known Ardemans trained as a painter with Antonio de Pereda and probably also Claudio Coello, but throughout his career he worked mainly as an architect and was appointed to official positions in this capacity.
The majority of Ardemans’ drawings are signed and relate to architectural projects in Madrid and nearby towns. Their careful execution demonstrates that drawing was key to planning, building and documenting such structures. In addition to designing new buildings, renovating and modifying existing ones, Ardemans planned royal entries and funeral exequies. He designed and decorated arches in Madrid for the arrival of Mariana of Neuburg in 1690 and Philip V in 1701 and the exequies for Luis XIV in 1715. Ephemeral architecture formed an important part of his professional activity as it is did for many artists.
As one of his most striking sheets this drawing demonstrates the continuation of the high baroque tradition blending architecture and dramatic perspective with ephemeral design. It records a project from the early decades of the century for the exaltation of Saint Francis of Assisi. The allegorical figures of Penitence and Obedience sit on a pedestal upon which stands an angel supporting a globe, the centre of which is a small piece of paper inserted presumably to rectify the damage caused by the compass point used to drawn the globe. St Francis is borne aloft by angels. The structure seems to be set beneath an arch in the crossing of a church looking down the nave. In the background on the walls are faint outlines of paintings of the Virgin appearing to a saint. The arch is decorated with putti, cartouche, fabric and statuary.
It is difficult to imagine this drawing representing an actual structure; it was most likely made for an untraced or unexecuted print or a large screen connected with the celebration and seems to have been inspired by a print of Bernini’s chair of Saint Peter (cathedral pietri). François Spierre’s large etching of 1666, for example, shows a very similar structure within the church setting (F.Van der Wall, François Spierre - Ein lothringischer Maler und Stecher des 17. Jahrhunderts, Würzburg 1987, R.14).
A. L. Mayer, Die Handzeichnungen spanischer Meister. 150 Skizzen und Entwürfen vom 16. bis 19. Jahrhundert, 2 vols, Leipzig 1915 (Spanish edn Dibujos originales de maestros Españoles: 150 apuntes y estudios de artistas del siglo XVI hasta el siglo XIX, 2 vols, Leipzig and New York 1920), plt.125; Aterido Fernández, Á., ‘Teodoro Ardemans, Pintor’, Anuario del Departamento de Historia y Teoría de Arte (U.A.M), VII–VIII, 1995–6, p.137; M. P. McDonald, 'Renaissance to Goya: Prints and drawings from Spain', exh.cat., British Museum, London 2012, pp.191-2; M. P. McDonald, ‘El trazo español en el British Museum: Dibujos del Renacimiento a Goya’, exh. cat., Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid 2013, cat.no.49.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1976 BM, Spanish Drawings (no cat)
2012/13 Sept-Jan, London, British Museum, ‘Renaissance to Goya: Prints and Drawings from Spain’
2013 March-June, Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado, ‘El trazo español en el British Museum …’
2013, Aug-Nov, Sydney, AGNSW, 'Renaissance to Goya'
2013-4, Dec-Mar, Santa Fe, New Mexico Museum of Modern Art, 'Renaissance to Goya'
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number