- Museum number
Mater Dolorosa; half-length figure of the mourning Virgin, her hands clasped together and looking down to right
Pen and brown ink, brown wash, heightened with white (partly oxidised), over black chalk, on paper rubbed with red chalk, the outlines pricked for transfer
- Production date
- 1485-1524 (circa)
Height: 126 millimetres
Width: 87 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Vasari in his unflattering account of Raffaellino del Garbo in his 'Lives of the Artists' mentions that in the artist's declining years he was reduced to accept 'any work, however mean' for small reward. In this category Vasari mentions that Raffaellino made many beautiful designs for embroidery for the 'churches of Florence and her territory, and also for Cardinals and Bishops in Rome'. The validity of Vasari's account is attested by a large number of small-scale pricked cartoons in pen and wash with wash: four of which are in the BM (1860,0616.114; 1895,0915.469; 1860,0616.45 and 1923,0417.6). The majority of these cannot be related to surviving embroideries as is the case with the present design. An exception to this are four drawings in the Uffizi, Florence which are designs for the Passerini vestments now in the Museo Diocesano, Cortona (two of the designs illustrated in A. Cecchi, 'Filippino and His Circle, Designers for the Decorative Arts', in G.R. Goldner and C.C. Bambach (eds.), exhib. cat., New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 'The Drawings of Filippino Lippi and His Circle', 1997, figs 22-3, p. 41).
The very close pricking of the outlines which characterises cartoons for embroideries was done to create an accurate 'substitute cartoon' for the use of the artisans creating the embroideries, thereby preserving the original designs (for discussion of this see C C. Bambach, 'Drawing and Painting in the Italian Renaissance Workshop: Theory and Practice, 1300-1600, Cambridge, 1999, pp. 289-90).
Raffaellino is known as Raffaellino del Garbo after the name of the road near the church of the Badia in Florence where his workshop was situated. Confusingly he sometimes signed his paintings Raffaello dei Carli or Capponi (taking the names of the two families who looked after him after his father's death in 1479), and in one instance on an altarpiece in Siena, Raphael de Florentia. This led Berenson to divide up Garbo's work between three different artists - hence his attribution to Carli for the present drawing - but there is now general consensus that the variously signed works are all by the same hand (see C.C. Bambach, in exhib. cat., New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 'The Drawings of Filippino Lippi and His Circle', 1997, pp. 338-9)
Lit.: B. Berenson, 'Drawings of the Florentine Painters', Chicago, 1938, II, no. 641 (as Carli); A.E. Popham and P. Pouncey, 'Italian drawings in the BM, the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries', London, 1950, I, no. 66, II, pl. LXI
Popham & Pouncey 1950
Study for a Madonna, presumably in a scene from the Passion ('Crucifixion', 'Deposition', or 'Pietà'), no doubt for the embroidery of a vestment (see 1860,0616.114). Attributed to Raffaellino del Garbo in the Woodburn Sale Catalogue, but given by Berenson to Carli.
Literature: BB 641.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number