- Museum number
'The Florentine Picture-Chronicle', page from the album (recto of 1889,0527.2): Adam and Eve with the Tree of Knowledge and the Serpent between them; below Adam and Eve's two sons, Cain murdering Abel by an altar with the God the Father in the sky above
Pen and brown ink and brown wash over black chalk
- Production date
- 1470-1475 (circa)
Height: 326 millimetres
Width: 226 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- EXTREMELY FRAGILE. Please handle with special care.
Watermark: Gothic R
Lit. : S. Colvin, `A Florentine Picture Chronicle`, London, 1898 (contains facsimile reproductions of the whole book, with the exception of the four leaves added in 1900); A. Venturi, L`Arte, ii (1899), pp. 111 ff; P. Kristeller, Repertorium, xxii (1899), pp. 133 ff; B. Berenson, Gazette, xxiii (1900), pp. 170ff; S. Colvin, introduction to A. M. Hind, Catalogue of Italian Engravings in B.M., 1910, pp. xx ff.; Van Marle, xi, pp. 307 et seq., passim, figs. 288-92; O. Giglioli, Miscellanea . . . in onore di I. B. Supino, Florence, 1933, pp. 384 ff; A. M. Hind, Early Italian Engraving, i, 1938, pp. 6 ff; B.M. Guides, 1891, nos. 10-15 and 1901, nos. A2-4.; A.E. Popham and P. Pouncey, `Italian drawings in the BM, the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries`, London, 1950, I, no. 274 (with previous literature); B. Degenhart and A. Schmitt, `Corpus der italienischen Zeichnungen, 1300 1450, Süd und Mittelitalien`, Berlin, 1968, I, no. 566, IV, pl. 385; R. Gilli, `Proposte per Maso Finiguerra: le tarsie della Sacrestia delle Messe in Santa Maria del Fiore a Firenze`, "Antichità viva", XIX, 1980, 6, pp. 37-9 (as Finiguerra ?); L. Whitaker, `Maso Finiguerra, Baccio Baldini and The Florentine Picture Chronicle`, in E. Cropper (ed.), `Florentine Drawings at the Time of Lorenzo the Magnificent, papers from a colloquium held at the Villa Spelman`, Florence, 1992`, Bologna, 1994, pp. 181-196
Popham & Pouncey 1950
All the drawings are described and reproduced in Colvin`s publication, except for 1900,0526.1-8.
The elaborately finicky decoration in some of these drawings suggested to Colvin, as it does to us, that they are the work of a goldsmith-engraver, who from his style was working about 1460. The close connection between them and the more archaistic of the "fine manner" engravings led Colvin to the conclusion that they were the work of someone closely connected with the production of these engravings. Maso Finiguerra, to whom he attributed the Chronicle, is shown by contemporary records to have been a well-known worker in `niello` (which has, in the opinion of Colvin, but not in that of Kristeller, affinities with the "fine manner"), while a persistent tradition, dating back to the time of Vasari, assigns to him a prominent position in the early history of engraving. Colvin concludes from this that Maso was probably the "head of the fine-manner workshop", and as such might have executed the drawings as a kind of pattern-book for his employees. Evidence in support of this theory, amounting, in Colvin`s opinion, almost to definite proof, was thought to be provided by a group of drawings in the Uffizi (some inscribed with Maso`s name in sixteenth- or seventeenth-century writing), which seemed to Colvin to be certainly by the same hand as the Picture Chronicle [See 1946,0713.213]. No weight can, however, be attached to the inscriptions, and there is no stylistic reason for identifying their author with the draughtsman of the Picture Chronicle, or for linking either group with the only works which can authentically be connected with Maso, the `intarsie` in the Duomo Sacristy at Florence, for the figures in which he is recorded to have supplied designs in 1464: the `intarsie` are of little value as comparative material, for they were executed, and partly designed, by Giuliano da Maiano, and it is not possible to determine the extent of Maso`s share, although Kristeller and Giglioli, for no reason, attribute to him the architectural backgrounds. Colvin thinks that more than one hand has worked on one and the same page of the Chronicle; and suggests that in the case of some of the more obviously weak drawings, the master entrusted the finishing touches to a pupil-a curious reversal of the usual procedure. Kristeller, in our opinion more reasonably, explains these variations in quality by suggesting that they are due to the artist`s having borrowed from various sources. He and Giglioli refuse to follow Colvin in attributing the `intarsie`, the Uffizi drawings, and the Picture Chronicle to the same hand; while Venturi (who does not mention the `intarsie` at all) agrees in differentiating the two latter groups. Horne, Hind, and Berenson agree with Colvin, though Berenson (`Text`, p. 29) now seems to be less certain of the identification with Maso. So slight is the only evidence, that of the `intarsie` figures, for an attribution to Maso, that it must, in fairness to Colvin, be pointed out that his attribution, while emphatically not proved, cannot, in the present state of our knowledge, be satisfactorily disproved.
The style of these drawings is extremely provincial; so much so, that we are tempted to see in them a hand close to that of the Master of the `Adimari Cassone` (cf. Schubring, `Cassoni`, pl. LVII), whom Longhi associates with Arezzo rather than with Florence.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
BM, 'Padua in the 1450s', 1998, no. 16
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Popham & Pouncey 1950
The leaves of the book, in its present state, seem to be numbered 5 to 59 in a seventeenth(?)-century hand; the numbers, in the right-hand top corner, have in many cases been partly trimmed away. The book was broken up by Ruskin, who was in the habit of lending parts of his books and manuscripts to friends and institutions in which he was interested, with the result that when the Museum purchased it from him in 1889 it contained only 49 folios. Of the remainder, two (1890,0314.1-4. Folios 13 and 14) were presented the next year by the trustees of the Ruskin Museum, Sheffield, and four (1900,0526.1-8. Folios 9, 22, 36, and 47) in 1900 by Ruskin's cousin, Mrs. Arthur Severn; folios 1 to 4 are missing, but there is nothing to indicate that they were not removed before Ruskin acquired the book.
ADD The volume was purchased from Ruskin in 1888 for £1,000 in order to hold it for the BM, which at that point had no purchase money. The BM purchased it from him the following year for a nominal £25 mark-up.
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number