- Museum number
Four male figures; whole-length with heads tilted at different angles, one at foreground wearing drapery
Black chalk, heightened with white chalk on left figure only, squared in black and red chalks, pricked for transfer
Popham & Pouncey 1950
Black chalk, the left.-hand figure touched with white. Squared in black chalk, the outlines pricked. Four lines on the lower part of the sheet, parallel with the bottom edge, in red chalk. In its present state the sheet consists of three separate pieces of paper. An area roughly 11 to 12 cm. square in the top l.-hand corner was cut out of the whole sheet and so placed that its l.-hand bottom corner is in its original position, while its bottom r.-hand corner has been raised about 1 cm. The drawing was made up on an L-shaped piece of paper pasted underneath the resulting gap.
- Production date
- 1456-1523 (circa)
Height: 337 millimetres
Width: 256 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- A study for the four apostles on the l. of the 'Assumption of the Virgin' painted for the high altar of Cortona cathedral in 1519 and now in the Museo Diocesano, Cortona.
Lit: B. Berenson, 'The Drawings of the Florentine Painters', Chicago, 1938, II, 2509 E-2; A.E. Popham and P. Pouncey, 'Italian drawings in the BM, the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries', London, 1950, I, no. 242, II, pl. CCVI (with previous literature); L.B. Kanter, 'Some Documents, a Drawing and an Altarpiece by Luca Signorelli' in Master Drawings, XXX, 1992, pp. 415-419; C. Van Cleave, 'Luca Signorelli as a Draughtsman', unpublished D.Phil. diss., 1995, cat. 16, pp. 133-35.
Popham & Pouncey 1950
The inner line of the upper r. arm of the figure third from the l. was originally the line of the neck of the figure second from the 1. It is difficult to explain the alteration, which was presumably by Signorelli himself; he may perhaps have found that there was not room for the two r.-hand figures without moving the other two farther to the 1.
To Berenson the attitudes and character of the figures and their arrangement suggest that this was a study for an 'Ascension' or 'Assumption'. The pricking of the outlines might imply, as he says, that it formed part of the cartoon for a picture of the same size. Squaring, on the other hand, generally implies that a drawing was meant to be enlarged and the types in this case suggest a monumental composition. The size would seem to exclude one of Berenson's suggestions: that it was intended for embroidery. Nor is the pricking of the close, fine kind found in drawings for embroidery (see under Raffaellino del Garbo, no. 64). Berenson dates the drawing "probably soon after 1490"; but the style is extremely close to that of studies apparently connected with the Orvieto frescoes and the attitudes even suggest a connection with the figures on the 1. of the 'Coronation of the Elect' (K. der K. 105) where, however, the fully draped l.-hand figure would be out of place.
Literature: BB 2509 E-2 (Gazette, vii (1932), p. 176, fig. 3); B.M. Guide, 1891, no. 31.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1998/9 Nov-Jan, London NG, Signorelli
2012 Apr-Aug, Perugia, Galleria Nazionale dell'Umbria. 'Luca Signorelli'.
2019-2020 30 Nov-8 Mar, Lyon, Musee des Beaux-Arts de Lyon, Drapery
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Thibaudeau acted as an agent for the British Museum at the Russell sale in December 1884, see 1885,0509.1574-1607. Some of the other drawings Thibaudeau purchased at the same sale were subsequently sold to the British Museum in 1885; see 1885,0509.33-51 and 1885,0711.271-303.
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number