- Museum number
Aspertini album (so-called London II):
Folio 2 recto (drawing numbered 3): A standing male and female nude with other figures behind including a Victory holding a bull
Folio 2 verso (drawing numbered 4): The entombment of Christ
Recto: black chalk, pen and black ink, coloured wash, heightened with white (partly discoloured)
Verso: black chalk, pen and black ink, coloured wash, heightened with white (partly discoloured)
- Production date
Height: 219 millimetres
Width: 159 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- For comments on the album to which this sheet belongs to see under 1862,0712.394
f. 2 recto (no. 3)
According to Bober (1957, p. 77) the group at the centre of this drawing, like the nudes on 1862,0712.394 recto, recall Signorelli's style (see below). The figure on the left is related to a Sea Goddess which in the Renaissance stood in the church of SS. Apostoli in Rome and is now in Villa Borghese (www.census.de ID16665). Bober (1957, p. 77) informs that Aspertini's drawing corresponds precisely, but in reverse, to some drawings of this statue (whithout specifying which ones) and she suggests that Aspertini's source could have been an engraving. This is maybe the reason why the present drawing was not included in the later publication by Bober and Rubinstein among those that record the Sea Goddess (1986, no. 63). At the top right of the sheet the 'Victory sacrificing a Bull' is connected by Bober to a relief once in Trajan's Forum (Bober and Rubinstein no. 171, p. 202), then part of the della Valle Collection and now in Munich (www.census.de ID15558). It does also remind the group of 'Europa and the Bull' in one of the hexagonal compartment on the ceiling of the Loggia di Galatea in the Villa Farnesina in Rome, for which also a preparatory drawing by Peruzzi still exists (see M. Faietti in "Bologna e l'Umanesimo", exh. Cat. Bologna 1988, cat. 97, p. 318). Underneath this group on our sheet is a standing nude male figure seen from the back, with his arms above his head. The typology is quite close to a figure that appears on one of the pilasters in the Vatican Logge (cf. N. Dacos, 'Logge di Raffaello', Roma 1986, tav. XCVIIIb), while Bober observes a similarity with one of the allegorical figures in a drawing at the Uffizi (1171E) representing a "Homage to Venus", variably attributed, among others, to Jacopo Francia or Raffaellino de Carli (see M. Faietti, cit., cat. 86, pp. 297-8). Even though Aspertini's rendering differs from that in the Uffizi drawing, as the torsion of the body is not so pronounced and the whole figure is much less defined, one can see a connection if one looks, for example, to a niello print which derives from the Uffizi drawing (British Museum 1868,0822.4; see Faietti, cit. cat. 113). It is possible that Aspertini had access to prints by other Bolognese artists, and the figures on this sheet, including the two nudes in the middle, seem ultimately to be in debt with artists like Francia, Ripanda and Marcantonio Raimondi (note that of the latter we have studies of another version of the above mentioned Sea Goddess, originally from the Maffei Collection in Rome, which are also fairly close to the one on this sheet; see Faietti, cit., fig. 51, p. 85 and cat. 57, pp. 207-8; see also 1862,0712.394). The reclining figure underneath derives from the figure at the extreme right of Michelangelo's 'Battle of Cascina' (see under 1862,0712.394) cartoon, known through such copies as the monochrome painting by Aristotele da Sangallo of 1542, now in Holkham Hall, or the drawing from the Fenwick collection here in the British Museum of c. 1570 (1946,0713.593), but Aspertini must obviously have used an earlier one.
Lit.: P.P. Bober, 'Drawings after the Antique by Amico Aspertini. Sketchbooks in the British Museum', London 1957, pp. 77-8; P.P.Bober-R. Rubinstein, 'Renaissance Artists and Antique Sculpture', New York 1986; M. Faietti - D. Scaglietti Kelescian , 'Amico Aspertini', Modena 1995, fig. 44, p. 64.
f. 2 verso (no. 4)
The subject of the 'Entombent of Christ' is also found in an early drawing by Aspertini in Vienna (Faietti-Scaglietti 1995, cat. dis. 31), a monochrome on canvas in the Louvre quite close in date and style to the present one (cit., cat. dis. 82) and in a mature drawing in Liverpool (cit., cat. dis. 86). Faietti (2001, p. 167) connects the present sheet also to a xylograph found in the Kupferstichkabinett in Berlin, whose invention she believes is Aspertini's and the executor possibly Marcantonio Raimondi. Aspertini painted the subject in the church of Sant'Agostino in Lucca (Faietti-Scaglietti cit., cat. dip. 24, p. 152) and the general iconography is at the base of his 'Entombent of Saints Valeriano and Tiburzio' fresco in the Oratorio of Santa Cecilia in Bologna (Faietti-Scaglietti, cit., cat. dip. 19, p. 133). In the present sheet Aspertini seems to be inspired by Donatello's relief of the same subject found on the tabernacle of the Sacrestia dei Beneficiati in St Peter's in the Vatican (H.W. Janson, "The Sculpture of Donatello", Princeton 1979, tav. 42a), which, however, is ultimately in debt with the Sarcophagus of Meleagre in Wilton House (P.P.Bober-R. Rubinstein, 'Renaissance Artists and Antique Sculpture', New York 1986, no. 115, pp. 145-6), recorded by Aspertini on ff. 34v-35 of the Codex Wolfegg (see Faietti-Scaglietti, cit., under cat. dis. 82, pp. 297-9). Faietti compares the way Christ's face has been crossed with luminous strokes of white heightening with that of Christ in the 'Incredulity of St Thomas' drawing in the Uffizi (Faietti-Scaglietti, cit., cat. dis. 97, pp. 311-2).
Lit.: P.P. Bober, 'Drawings after the Antique by Amico Aspertini. Sketchbooks in the British Museum', London 1957, p. 78; M. Faietti - D. Scaglietti Kelescian , 'Amico Aspertini', Modena 1995, fig. 45, p. 65; M. Faietti, "Amico invenit. Marcantonio sculpsit? Il Compianto su Cristo morto di Berlino", in 'Scritti di Storia dell'arte in onore di Sylvie Beguin', Napoli, 2001, pp. 167-178
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
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