- Museum number
A man lying on a stone slab, his body supported on his left elbow, with drapery covering his lower body
Pen and brown ink, over traces of black chalk or charcoal (visible around left arm of figure) and incised ruled lines for sides of the slab, added sections of paper at top and bottom
- Production date
- 1475-1485 (circa)
Height: 203 millimetres
Width: 139 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- The medium of the drawing has been confirmed by Satoko Tanimoto and Giovanni Verri from the Department of Scientific Research in a campaign of investigation of the Italian 15th century drawings linked to the forthcoming 2010 exhibition. The analytical methods employed have been non-destructive and non-contact ones: infrared and ultraviolet imaging, with XRF and Raman spectrometry.
Lit.: A.E. Popham and P. Pouncey, 'Italian drawings in the BM, the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries', London, 1950, I, no. 155, II, pl. CXLIV (with previous literature); D. Ekserdjian in exhib. cat. London, RA and New York, Metropolitan Museum, 'Andrea Mantegna', no. 43 (with previous literature); C. Van Cleave, 'Master Drawings of the Italian Renaissance', London, 2007, p. 56, illustrated p. 57; H. Chapman and M. Faietti, exhib. cat., BM, London, `Fra Angelico to Leonardo: Italian Renaissance Drawings`, 2010, no. 21, pp. 138-9 (cat. entry by M. Faietti).
Popham & Pouncey 1950
This drawing is accepted as an original by Mantegna in all the literature quoted. Thode regarded it as "a preparatory study for, or variant of" the 'Pietà' in the Brera (K. der K. 115), a theory which Berenson seems inclined to accept. In both works, it is true, a figure with drapery round its loins is seen foreshortened from the feet, lying on a stone slab; but since the essential feature of a 'Pietà' is that the figure in it is dead, while in this drawing the man's whole attitude and the tension of his arm muscles show that he is painfully trying to raise himself, any definite connection with a 'Pietà' can be ruled out. The pose suggests knowledge of an antique 'Dying Gaul'. The technique, as Kristeller remarks, has much in common with that of Mantegna's original engravings, especially the 'Bacchanal with the Tub' (B. xiii, p. 240, 19). Cf. also the drawing of the 1. hand with the 1. hand of the figure brandishing a bunch of fishes in the 'Battle of the Sea-Gods' (B. xiii, p. 239, 18).
Literature: W. Y. Ottley, The Italian School of Design, London, 1823, p. 16 (engraving by T. Vivares: Weigel 4575); Milanesi, commentary to Vasari, iii, p. 434; B.M. Reproductions, ii (1891), XI; Morelli, Die Galerien zu München und Dresden, 1891, p. 233; Thode, p. 115, fig. 123; Cruttwell, p. 108; Kristeller, p. 405, fig. 153, p. 445, no. 8; Berenson, p. 50; K. der K., p. li (repr.).
This drawing was issued as a coloured facsimile by the British Museum in 'Reproductions of Drawings by Old Masters in the British Museum', Part II, Published by the Trustees, in 1891 where it was number XI(B) and described there as 'Andrea Mantegna, Study for a Figure Probably of the Dead Christ.'
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1992 Jan-Apr, London, Royal Academy, 'Andrea Mantegna', no. 43
1992 May-Jul, New York, Met. Mus of Art, 'Andrea Mantegna', no. 43
1995 Jul-Sep, London, Whitechapel Art Gallery, 'Drawing the Line', no. 125
2003 Oct-Dec, Tokyo, Metropolitan Art Museum, Treasures of BM
2004 Jan-Mar, Kobe, City Museum, Treasures of BM
2004 Apr-Jun, Fukuoka, City Museum, Treasures of BM
2004 Jun-Aug, Niigata, Prefectural Mus of Fine Arts, Treasures of BM
2010 April-July, BM, 'Fra Angelico to Leonardo', no. 21
2011, March-June, Uffizi, Florence, 'Figure, Memorie, Spazio: Disegni da Fra'Angelico a Leonardo', no.21
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number