- Museum number
Study of a reclining female nude, her left hand resting on her head, her knees drawn up, and drapery studies
Red and white chalk, on blue paper
In the lower right is a separate study for the figure's right foot and in the lower left two reversed studies of the figure's torso, one superimposed over the other. Six variant studies for what seems to be the same corner of drapery occur at the top right corner (two), at the lower right edge (one) and at the lower left (three).
- Production date
Height: 523 millimetres
Width: 402 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Lit.: N. Turner, 'Italian Drawings in the BM, Roman Baroque Drawings', London, 1999, I, no. 182
The figure is a study from the life for the nymph who appears in the lower left of the 'Apollo and Daphne' in the Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, datable 1680 (Mezzetti, 1955, pp. 319ff., no. 18; reproduction of a detail showing the nymph alone appears in Mezzetti, 1955, p. 289, whilst the whole painting is illustrated in Voss, 1924, fig. 344). Maratti was commissioned to paint the picture by Louis XIV, and was paid in 1681 (Guiffrey, 1881-97, II, p. 107; Mezzetti, 1955, pp.319-20, no. 18). The figure in the drawing corresponds closely to its counterpart in the picture; but in the latter the upper part of the body is cast into shadow, with the exception of a strip of light illuminating her brow and left forearm, and she reclines on drapery, almost entirely omitted from the drawing. The exact purpose of the six drapery studies in the drawing is unclear, though they all seem to be for the same detail. The obvious solution that they are for the drapery on which the figure lies is implied by their proximity to the figure in the drawing. Nonetheless, there is no exact correspondence with that drapery in the painting. Mezzetti suggested that the two studies of a female torso facing right were for the figure of Daphne. This perceptive identification is supported by some parallels with this figure, though the studies may have originated simply as an experiment in the reversal of the torso of the main study.
Other studies for the Brussels picture are in the Kunstmuseum, Düsseldorf (Harris and Schaar, 1967, nos 325-35), one of which (inv.no. FP 7198 verso; Harris and Schaar, 1967, no. 334) is a study for the head and raised left arm of the nymph studied in the present drawing, and in the Academia de San Fernando, Madrid (inv.nos 1524A, 966, 1193, 1603, 1457B, 1161 and 1792; Mena, 1975, II, pp. 644-5, nos 149-55). A preparatory compositional study for the picture was on the London art market (sale, Christie's, 3 July 1990, lot 43).
Literature: Mezzetti, 1955, p.320, n. 18; Harris and Schaar, 1967, p. 123; Vitzthum, 1971, p.86, pl.xxxi; Mena, 1975, II, p. 645.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1990 April-Aug, BM, Treasures of P&D (no cat.)
2021 - 2022 27 Apr – 16 Jan, Madrid, Caixa Forum, “Human Image”
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number