- Museum number
Aspertini album (so-called London II):
Folio 7 recto (drawing numbered 13): Four figures copied from the Ferrarese pack of so-called Tarot cards, labelled 'melpomene','theologia', 'musica' and 'poesia'
Folio 7 verso (drawing numbered 14): Four draped male figures, two in flying positions
Recto: black chalk, coloured wash, heightened with white (partly discoloured), a blur of red wash on 'Poesia'
Verso: black chalk, pen and black ink (?), touches of yellow wash, heightened with white (partly discoloured)
- 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.
f. 7 recto (no. 13)
The figures on this and the previous sheet are a very free derivation from the so called "Tarocchi del Mantegna", a very successful cycle of engravings elaborated in Ferrara by an anonymous engraver known as Master E. It is difficult to establish weather these drawings are preparatory for the frescoes of the Sala dell'Astronomia in Minerbio, as suggested by Bober (1957, pp. 10, 79), or weather they are a rielaboration of the prints then used at a later stage in the frescoes with even more liberty, as tentatively suggested by Faietti-Scaglietti (1995, p. 84). A connection to the frescoes would in any case fit well with the dating of this drawing-book (1535-40) and the possibility that also the previous sheets are connected to the frescoes in Castello Isolani in Minerbio (see entries 1862,0712.394-398). See both Bober and Faietti-Scaglietti for further comments about the iconography of the figures and the most recent contribution by Scaglietti in the Bologna exhibition catalogue (2008-09, pp. 248-51).
On this drawing are 'Melpomene' (B. XIII.134.34; BM 1895,0915.17), and 'Theologia' (B. XIII.127.47, BM 1845,0825.323) at the top, 'Musicha' (B.XIII.126.43; BM 1845,0825.315) and 'Poesia' (B.XIII.126.44; BM 1845,0825.317) at the bottom. According to Bober (cit.) Melpomene is a study for the same figure frescoed in Castello Isolani in Minerbio, while Scaglietti (cit., p. 250) refers to the drawing only to confirm the iconography of the subject in the fresco.
Lit.: P.P. Bober, 'Drawings after the Antique by Amico Aspertini. Sketchbooks in the British Museum', London 1957; M. Faietti - D. Scaglietti Kelescian , 'Amico Aspertini', Modena 1995; D. Scaglietti Kelescian in 'Amico Aspertini. Artista bizzarro nell'età di Dürer e Raffaello', exhibition catalogue Bologna 2008-09.
f. 7 verso (no. 14)
As observed by Bober (1957, pp. 79-80), the four figures are strongly foreshortened as if hovering in the air and they could be a study for a ceiling decoration. She further suggests that this composition and the one on the following drawing (1862,0712.401 recto), as a general impression, bring to mind the figures accompanying God in Michelangelo's 'Conversion of St. Paul'. This could be a problematic comparison, considering the present drawing book is generally believed to date between 1535 and 1540, while the frescoes date 1542-50.
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