- Museum number
Aspertini album (so-called London II):
Folio 3 recto (drawing numbered 5): A standing male nude with arms outstretched with a woman holding her left arm out; Virgin with blessing Child on a platform behind; man being devoured by an animal in water in foreground
Folio 3 verso (drawing numbered 6): Two nude figures holding a circular object with a temple on it; two kneeling nude figures on left and right background
Recto and verso: black chalk, pen and black ink, coloured wash, heightened with white (partly discoloured, only slightly on verso)
- Production date
Height: 219 millimetres
Width: 159 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- For comment on the album to which this sheet belongs, see 1862,0712.394. This page has been misbound after folio 4.
f. 3 recto (no. 5)
According to Faietti the figures in the foreground of ff. 3, 4 and 5 (1862,0712.396-398) are close to the solutions adopted for the frescoes in the 'Sala di Ercole' in Minerbio (Faietti-Scaglietti 1995, under cat. dip. 49, p. 202) and it could well be that some of these drawings have also a connection with some of the frescoes in the 'Sala di Marte', as the females on these sheets can be interpreted as figures of Venus (the frescoes have been recently restored, but some are lost). It seems that these drawings and, partly, also the first two of the book, could be part of the same project, or at least have a common inspiration. Note the consistency in colours and style and the general pattern, which includes main figures in the foreground and secondary ones seated on a continuous ground line in the background.
Bober (1957, p. 78) thinks that the pose of the female figure recalls that of the 'Cnidian Venus', an example of which was found after 1536 in the Cortile del Belvedere in the Vatican (www.census.de; ID 16457 ). She also thinks that the exaggerated musculature of the male figure recalls yet again the style of Signorelli (and we should add that he must have been also looking at fellow Bolognese artists like Francia, Raimondi e Ripanda) and its stance is related to one of the Tyrannocides, the Aristogeiton now in Naples (www.census.de; ID 212122), but once in Palazzo Medici-Madama in Rome. Like in some cases in London I, where Aspertini 'restored' antique monuments (e.g. 1898,1123.3.13), it's interesting to note that also in this case Aspertini has added the widespread arms of the statue, which were missing when recorded by contemporary artists like Heemskerck or the Anonymus Cantabrigensis (see for example Cambridge sketchbook, f. 45: www.census.de; ID 17011). For further interpretations of the statue see Bober and Rubinstein 1986, no. 127, p. 163.
For the woman and child group in the background see 1862,0712.409 recto.
In the right foreground, a nude man in a river is being devoured by some animal (hippopotamus?) or a monstrous creature.
Lit.: P.P. Bober, 'Drawings after the Antique by Amico Aspertini. Sketchbooks in the British Museum', London 1957, p. 78, fig. 110; P.P.Bober-R. Rubinstein, 'Renaissance Artists and Antique Sculpture', New York 1986, under no 127, 163;
M. Faietti - D. Scaglietti Kelescian , 'Amico Aspertini', Modena 1995, fig. 46, p. 66
f. 3 verso (no. 6)
According to Bober (1957, p. 78) the nude male figure seen from the back is closely resembling the soldier pulling on his breeches in Michelangelo's Battle of Cascina, although the strong torsion of the body is here missing. The other nude figure behind him can't be clearly distinguished, but is likely to be a female ('Venus and Mars'?; in which case there could be a connection with the frescoes in Minerbio as for the recto). They are both engaged in examination of an object, possibly a helmet, decorated with a satyr or lion mask on the right and a temple on one side. It is difficult to interpret what the female figure is stepping on, but if we follow the theme of Venus and Mars, it could be a reference to the latter's arms.
Bober believes that the two kneeling figure in the background are roughly based on the Victories sacrificing bulls from the della Valle collection, one of which is found also on 1862,0712.395 recto.
Lit.: P.P. Bober, 'Drawings after the Antique by Amico Aspertini. Sketchbooks in the British Museum', London 1957
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number