- Museum number
Seven gods and three goddesses seated, reclining or standing
Pen and brown ink
- Production date
- 1526-27 (circa)
Height: 85 millimetres
Width: 120 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Engraved in facsimile in reverse by C.M. Metz, 'Imitations of Ancient and Modern Drawings', London, 1789 and 1798, when in the West Collection (Weigel 5800)
Lit.: A.E. Popham, 'Catalogue of the Drawings of Parmigianino', Cambridge, 1971, no. 215, pl. 274; A. Gnann, 'Parmigianino, Die Zeichnung', Petersberg, 2007, no. 547
Bambach, Chapman, Clayton & Goldner 2000:
1861,0810.3, 1905,1110.19 and 1905,1110.20 all share a common theme of the male nude, but it is difficult to determine the extent to which they are life drawings or else derived from the artist's imagination (some of them may even be a combination of the two). Only 1905,1110.20 appears unquestionably to be a life study, as Parmigianino shows the models using a staff and a rope to help them sustain their poses - studio props found in countless academic nude studies including one by Parmigianino in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (Popham, 'Parm.', no. 271, pl. 285). The complex attitude of the figure furthest to the left with his raised right arm, his head twisted to one side and his left leg thrust forward, is reminiscent of the pose of the model in a recently published academy study by Parmigianino (Ekserdjian 1999, no. 20, fig. 26). 1861,0810.3, 1905,1110.19 and 1905,1110.20 are dated by Popham to the Roman period, and although it is difficult to date them with any precision the spirited penwork is comparable with other drawings from these years.
Some of the figures in 1861,0810.3, particularly the male nudes, could almost be taken from the life, but the composition as a whole is entirely fantastical. The artist began by drawing the three male nudes in the foreground (the central one inspired by Michelangelo's Jonah fresco in the Sistine ceiling), and then in an impromptu manner he proceeded to fill the background with an engagingly confused crowd of figures. The free-flowing nature of the work is shown by the artist's sudden change of mind with little thought for the overall logic of the composition - exemplified by the disembodied arm holding a lightning bolt in the centre of the sheet, presumably from an abandoned figure of Jupiter.
As Popham noted, the cursorily drawn figure of a slumped man (1905,1110.19) is related to the invalid being taken off a horse in a drawing of 'Christ healing the sick' in Angers (Popham, 'Parm.', no. 5, pl. 189). The pose is so particular that it seems likely that it is directly related to the Angers drawing, and indeed it may be a fragment of a larger sheet of studies for the composition.
Literature: Popham, BM, no. 112; Popham, Parm., no. 215.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2000-1 Oct-Jan, BM, 'Drawings by Correggio and Parmigianino', No.66
2001 Feb-May, New York, Met Mus of Art, 'Drawings by Correggio and Parmigianino', No.66
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Inscription on the verso is associated with him but the figure "7" exceeded the "4"
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number