- Museum number
Aspertini album (so-called London II):
Folio 15 recto (drawing numbered 29): Ruins of a vaulted structure with an exedra, on the right the end of a church
Folio 15 verso (drawing numbered 30): Four bacchic figures including Pan dancing before an arcaded loggia
Recto: black chalk with brown wash, heightened with white (mainly discoloured)
Verso: black chalk with brown wash
- Production date
Height: 219 millimetres
Width: 159 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- For comment on the album to which this sheet belongs, see 1862-7-12-394.
f. 15 recto (no. 29)
Bober (1957, p. 81) thinks that the view of the ruins on the left, above the barrel-vaulted structure, is similar to one by Heemskerck representing the ruins where the Trophies of Marius were installed in Rome (drawing in the Gabinetto Nazionale delle Stampe in Rome, F. Hermanin, Die Stadt Rom, 1911, taf. XXXII; Ninfeo dell'Acqua Giulia; see www.census.de, ID155417). There isn't in fact that much in common between the two views, except maybe for the central semicircular exedra. It seems possibly inspired by some of the ruins on the Palatine Hill, or by those in the Baths of Diocletian in Rome. For the building on the right Bober thinks it could have been inspired by the east end of the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, but this does not seem convincing.
Lit.: P.P. Bober, 'Drawings after the Antique by Amico Aspertini. Sketchbooks in the British Museum', London 1957
f. 15 verso (no. 30)
The Arcaded loggia in the background is another version of the one on 1862,0712.406 verso.
The figures in the foreground are freely based on a sarcophagus previously in Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome and now in the British Museum (see BM 1805,0703.130 for an extensive entry on the sarcophagus). Aspertini had recorded other parts of this sarcophagus already in the Codex Wolfegg (ff. 31v-32 and 47v-48; see G. Schweikhart, 'Der Wolfegg Codex. Zeichnungen nach der Antike von Amico Aspertini', London 1986) and in London I (see 1898,1123.3.2). Bober (1957, p. 81) draws attention to the fact that the flutist on the right has an entirely different pose from the one on the sarcophagus, as the latter had been later wrongly restored. She also points to a drawing by Dosio from the Codex Berilonensis for comparison with Aspertini's version (f. 14; see www.census.de, ID 21285 ). Aspertini only just indicates the pipes in his drawing, with a single and faint straight line, so the figure seems to be simply thrusting his arms forward, whereas Dosio clearly shows the flutist with the pipes in his mouth. According to Census editors (June 2009), Dosio's drawing is actually related to a different sarcophagus, the one in the Camposanto in Pisa (see www.census.de, ID 23067 ) where the flutist is shown from behind with his arms upwards. Unfortunately the state of the sarcophagus does not allow us to determine whether the pipes are held in his mouth or not, but another interpretation of that sarcophagus, on a 16th century medal today in the V&A, shows the flutist holding the pipes in his hands above his head, in a position very similar to Aspertini's drawing (cf. www.census.de, ID 23070 ), so also the Pisa sarcophagus can help us to imagine how the Santa Maria Maggiore one looked like when Renaissance artists like Aspertini recorded it. The dancing Faun on the left holds an object in his left hand, which is very reminiscent of an imperial crown. There is maybe a reference to Aspertini's much earlier allegorical drawing also in the British Museum (1939,1014.148). The position of the dancing maenad at the centre of Aspertini's drawing is also very different from the one on the above mentioned Santa Maria Maggiore sarcophagus and even more misleading is the putto at her feet, as the one we see today on the sarcophagus, further to the right, is believed to be the result of a restoration (see BM entry on sarcophagus). One does then wonder whether Aspertini had a specific source for these figures.
Lit.: P.P. Bober, 'Drawings after the Antique by Amico Aspertini. Sketchbooks in the British Museum', London, 1957, p. 81; M. Faietti, 'Paradigma di regole e di sregolatezze. L'antico a Bologna tra Quattrocento e Cinquecento', in "Schede Umanistiche", 2004/1, p. 151, n. 140
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number