- Museum number
Aspertini album (so-called London II):
Folio 17 recto (drawing numbered 33): Two doorways being entered by people, and two lying male nudes in the foreground
Folio 17 verso (drawing numbered 34): Studies of a male nude seen from behind half-length, a man holding a cup, and architectural details
Recto: black chalk with brown wash, traces of white wash
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 1862,0712.394
f. 17 recto (no. 33)
This drawing and the one on the previous sheet (1862,0712.409v) were once part of the same composition. Bober (1957, pp. 81-2) suggests that the figure in the very foreground derives from the 'Falling Gaul', a roman copy of a pergamene statue today in Venice (www.census.de, ID 211730), and that Aspertini has "restored" it (see Bober and Rubinstein no. 149, p. 185). Bober, both in 1957 and later in 1986, suggests that the figure in the middle ground is an adaptation of the 'Dying Gaul', a roman copy of a Pergamene statue today in Naples (Bober and Rubinstein no. 151, p. 185; www.census.de, ID 16196 ). But it rather seems a collation between the latter and the 'Fighting Persian' on one knee in the Vatican (Bober-Rubinstein no 148, p. 184; www.census.de ID16724). Both statues were excavated at the same time in 1514 and, according to some of the sources, they were part of the Orsini-Medici collection in Palazzo Madama in Rome (although there is no certainty of what happened to the 'Fighting Persian', which could have been sent straight to the Pope's collection. For both see Bober 1957, pp. 81-2 and also Bober-Rubinstein 1986, p. 179 under no. 143).
The figures and architectural setting of the background, like the ones on the previous sheet (1862,0712.409), are reminiscent of another of Aspertini's drawings in the British Museum (2001,0127.6) and of a series of panels found in the church of San Girolamo della Certosa in Bologna (cf. R. Martorelli in 'Amico Aspertini. Artista bizzarro nell'età di Dürer e Raffaello', exhibition catalogue Bologna 2008/09, pp. 236-7). Other drawings in this album that show an interest in this type of imaginative architecture and remind the panels in Bologna are: 1862,0712.403, 409, 415v, 423v, 429, 430, 431. The portals are also reminiscent of the aedicule on the Pantheon, recorded also on f. 52r of the so-called codex Coner by Bernardo della Volpaia in the Soane Museum in London (see www.census.de, ID 205969 ). See also 1862,0712.409 recto and verso and 1862,0712.435r.
This is also an example where Aspertini combines classical motives with more contemporary figures like the one seen from behind and bending down on the left foreground (see also 1862,0712.410, 411 and 413v).
Lit.: P.P. Bober, 'Drawings after the Antique by Amico Aspertini. Sketchbooks in the British Museum', London, 1957; P.P.Bober-R. Rubinstein, 'Renaissance Artists and Antique Sculpture', New York 1986.
f. 17 verso (no. 34)
Bober catalogues this drawing together with the following one (1862,0712.411 recto) as an opening (1957, pp. 82-3). She believes the large nude torso seen from the back to be after a statue of Hercules. Aspertini's interest in Hercules is represented throughout his career, as it can be seen in many of his drawings: Faietti-Scaglietti 1995, catt. dis. 26, 75-6, 102; Wolfegg Codex, f. 41v-42; London I, 1898,1123.3.18, 19 and 21, 43 left and 47 left; London II, the present drawing and f. 1862,0712.416v. Aspertini frescoed a cycle of Hercules Labours in the castle of count Francesco Isolani in Minerbio (Faietti-Scaglietti cit., cat. dip. 49, pp. 196-203; see also ff. 1862,0712.396-400 for other drawings in this album connected to that cycle). As Faietti points out (p.198) the representations of Hercules in London II are not faithful to a particular antique model, as it could be said in the case of London I.
The composite capital is found also in London I, 1898,1123.3.9 and the Ionic one is perhaps, according to Bober (1957, p. 82), a free variation on a capital which stood next to the statue of Marforio in Rome. The entablature on the left is, according to Bober (cit.), a simplified version of the lateral imposts of the Arch of Septimius Severus in the Roman Forum, lateral arch of the west façade (see www.census.de, ID 15567). This poses a problem, as it is the entablature on the right that seems to bear more similarities to the Arch.
The arm of an inn keeper along the right hand margin belongs to the figure on the recto of the next drawing (1862,0712.411).
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.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
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