- Museum number
'The Florentine Picture-Chronicle' page from the album (recto of 1889,0527.8): The Tower of Nimrod (Tower of Babel)
Pen and brown ink and brown wash over black chalk (some ruled) and incised lines
- Production date
- 1470-1475 (circa)
Height: 326 millimetres
Width: 226 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- The kingdom of Nimrod, depicted on the opposite page, included Babel (Babylon) where the eponymous tower was built in order to reach heaven. Displeased by mankind's efforts God decided to make such activities more difficult by making men speak different languages (Genesis XI: 1-9: 'And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. 2And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. 3And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter. 4And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. 5And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. 6And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. 7 Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. 8So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. 9Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth'.).
The tower recalls a Florentine palace in the studded doorway, iron rings ('campanelle') and metal lanterns at the corners. Colvin compared the garland carrying putti with those by the Florentine sculptor Giuliano da Maiano at the top of the tarsia decoration in the sacristy of Florence cathedral.
Lit.: S. Colvin, 'A Florentine Picture Chronicle', London, 1898; A.E. Popham and P. Pouncey, 'Italian drawings in the BM, the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries', London, 1950, I, no. 274, II, pls. CCXXXVII-CCXLI.
For Popham & Pouncey 1950 entry see 1889,0527.1
- 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 r.-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.
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number