- Museum number
The Pentecost; the apostles gathered in a circle with the Holy Spirit above, beneath a hexagonal canopy. c.1440-60
Pen and brown ink, with brown wash, touched with red and heightened with white, on blue prepared paper
Verso: Studies of various figures including bishops, saints, monks and a man removing the lid of a coffin
Pen and brown ink, with brown wash, heightened with white (partly oxidised), on brown prepared paper
- Production date
Height: 258 millimetres
Width: 192 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- The asterix in the Malcolm catalogue denotes that it was acquired after Robinson's involvement with the collection.
Lit.: J.C. Robinson, 'Descriptive Catalogue of Drawings by the Old Masters, forming the Collection of John Malcolm of Poltalloch, Esq.', London, 1876, no. 31* (as Early Florentine School); A.E. Popham and P. Pouncey, 'Italian drawings in the BM, the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries', London, 1950, I, no. 291, II, pls. CCLVIII, CCLIX; S. Pettenati, in exhib. cat., Turin, Museo Civico d'Arte Antica e Palazzo Madama, ' I vetri dorati graffiti e i vetri dipinti', 1978, p. 21; L. Castelfranchi, 'Intorno agli affreschi zavattariani di Monza', "Arte Lombarda", 1987, p. 102, fig. 12 and 13
Popham & Pouncey 1950
The figure top r. on the verso is S. Peter Martyr; that bottom 1., an unidentifiable Franciscan. Rosini reproduces the drawing as a work by Troso da Monza (mentioned in documents in 1477 and 1490) to whom, following Lanzi, he erroneously ascribes the cycle of frescoes in the Duomo at Monza representing scenes from the life of Queen Teodolinda. These frescoes are in fact signed by the Zavattari and dated 1444. Vallardi, the owner of the drawing in Rosini's time, was interested in early Lombard art and it is on the whole more likely that the attribution to Troso was his rather than traditional. But even if not traditional, this early attribution is of interest in that it implies a recognition of stylistic features common to the frescoes and the drawing and thus anticipates the conclusions of modern critics. Toesca, for example (loc. cit.), speaks of "a mannerism in the rendering of the draperies which is to be found in the work of the Lombard painters and miniaturists succeeding Michelino da Besozzo and Zavattari".
To the author of this drawing Toesca ascribes a miniature somewhat inferior in quality, representing the 'Ascension', in the Hoepli Collection (Toesca, 'La collezione . . . di . . . Hoepli', 1930, p. 109, no. XCVII, pl. XCI) which he describes as being in a style deriving from Michelino and related to the manner of Jacopino Cietario (cf. signed triptych of 1460 in the Trivulzio Coll., repr. by Toesca, 'La pittura e la miniatura nella Lombardia', 1912, pl. XXXIII). He claims also to have recognized the same hand "in various Lombard MSS".
Van Schendel assumes, it would seem without justification, that Toesca is willing to accept the drawing as the work of a Lombard illuminator, the Master of the 'Vitae Imperatorum', so named by Toesca from his work on the miniatures in MS. It. 131, in the Bibliothèque Nationale. Van Schendel considers the present drawing to have many points in common with a miniature of the 'Communion of the Saints' in the Hoepli Collection (Toesca Catalogue, pl. XCIII), which Toesca regards as one of the Master of the 'Vitae Imperatorum's' best works.
Toesca calls attention to an iconographical peculiarity: the representation of Christ in this scene with the marks of the Passion. Van Schendel, without giving reasons, identifies the episode on the verso as a scene from the life of S. Anthony of Padua.
Literature: JCR 31; G. Rosini, Storia della pittura italiana, iii (1841), p. 75 (line engr. by De Vegni); P.T(oesca) in Vasari Society, Second Series, xi (1930), 1; A. Van Schendel, Le Dessin en Lombardie, 1938, pp. 75 f., and figs. 69 and 70.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1972, BM, 'The Art of Drawing', No. 83
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number