- Museum number
The Fountain of the Water of Life; with figures in each tier of the fountain, and the crucified Christ above flanked by beasts
Pen and brown ink, with brown wash, on three sheets conjoined
Verso: Figure studies including a Virgin and Child
Pen and brown ink
Gere & Pouncey 1983
The fountain is surmounted by a figure of the Crucified Christ (the head has been trimmed away) between symbols of the Evangelists.
The studies on the verso, drawn with the sheet inverted, are: (a) St Mary Magdalene, identifiable by the jar of ointment she is holding; a standing figure of St Mark and a separate study of his r. hand holding a book; a decorated pedestal; another study of St Mary Magdalene; a nude (?) figure standing on a square base; (b) the Virgin and Child.
- Production date
Height: 537 millimetres
Width: 396 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- The drawing may have been a design for a large devotional woodcut or etching.
Lit: J.A. Gere and P. Pouncey, 'Italian drawings in the BM, Artists working in Rome', London, 1983, no. 131; J. Labbé and L. Bicart-Sée, 'La collection de dessins d'Antoine-Joseph Dezallier d'Argenville: reconstituée d'après son abrégé de la vie des plus fameux peintres, édition de 1762', Paris, 1996, p. 138
Gere & Pouncey 1983
The subject is presumably an illustration of some such text as "I will give to him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely" (Rev. xxi, 6), but the purpose of the drawing is unknown. Popham pointed out a certain likeness in conception, and even to some extent in composition, to a drawing by Franco reproduced in a woodcut by Andrea Andreani (B. xii, p. 136, 14), dated 1610 - that is, half a century after Franco's death - which illustrates in allegorical terms the words of St Paul "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course" etc. (2 Tim. iv, 7-8), and suggested that 1860,0616.41 might have been a design for a large devotional woodcut or etching.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1964, BM, Michelangelo, no.146(verso)
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- The paraph L. 2951 was formerly associated with Pierre Crozat but it now known to be that of d'Argenville, see J. Labbé and L.Bicart-Sée, 'Antoine-Joseph Dezallier d'Argenville as a collector of drawings', "Master Drawings", XXV, 3, Autumn 1987, pp. 276-81
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number