- Museum number
Raffaello Vanni albums: Virgin with the Christ Child, who rests on a stool
Verso: nude shepherd in adoration, with the outline of a head
Black and white chalk on buff paper
- Production date
- 1671 (circa)
Height: 235 millimetres
Width: 163 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- The drawings on both recto and verso are studies for Vanni's 'Adoration of the Shepherds' in S. Francesco, Cortona, executed in 1671 for Giuseppe and Dorotea Tozzi (ill. L. Fornasari and A. Giannotti eds, 'Arte in terra d'Arezzo: il Seicento', Florence, 2003, p. 109). The sketched figures are close to their counterparts in the finished picture, albeit with minor revisions of detail, most notably to the orientation of the Virgin's head and the angle at which the shepherd's upper body is seen (a change which appears to have motivated the aborted head study to the right). Preceding his death by two years, the Cortona altarpiece was one of the artist's last major works, executed around the time of his final return to Siena, when he was in his mid-seventies. His advanced age is discernible in the execution of the picture, which is notably loose, but it is inescapable in the drawing, in which the crispness of much of Vanni's earlier graphic style - gradually eroded over time - fully gives way to a pictorial means of description. On the verso in particular it is difficult to avoid the sense of an artist of failing powers, where outlines of the nude shepherd have only been established with considerable effort through short, trembling dashes of chalk. No preparatory studies were known to have survived before the re-emergence of the BM Vanni albums, which contain three related drawings in addition to the present one: see also 1886,0104.3.79,135 and 333. Another, since lost drawing of the entire is possibly described in an inventory of Vanni’s property from 1688 (in V. Fallani, ‘Artisti-Collezionisti nella Siena del Seicento’, “Proporzioni”, I, 2000, p. 126; perhaps most temptingly the ‘Natività’ paired with a Transfiguration, a subject Vanni also painted for Cortona).
For a general description of the Vanni workshop albums see 1886,0104.3.1.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- The register describes the vendor simply as "Mr Ready"
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number