- Museum number
Study of Christ's drapery rising from the tomb
Black chalk (the figure and outline of drapery) and silverpoint, heightened with white, on blue prepared paper
- Production date
- 1491 (circa)
Height: 180 millimetres
Width: 155 millimetres
- Curator's comments
Watermark: an eight-petalled flower (like Briquet 6599). This is a Milanese watermark commonly found among Leonardo and Leonardo school drawings, for example on Leonardo's study of a leg in the BM (Popham and Pouncey 1950, no. 112; 1886,0609.41).
As Müntz first observed, this is a drapery study for the 'Risen Christ with Saints Leonard and Lucy' painted for the oratory of St Leonard, part of the church of San Giovanni sul Muro, Milan, and now in Berlin (Sedini, 1989, no. 1, pp. 27-8; Fiorio, no. A2, pp. 79-80). This work is now known to have been executed by two of Leonardo's Milanese pupils, Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio and Marco d'Oggiono. The Berlin painting is the central, and only surviving panel, from an altarpiece commissioned in 1491 from the two artists by the Grifi or Griffi brothers, heirs of Leonardo, the archbishop of Benevento. When Popham and Pouncey catalogued the present drawing in 1950, the attribution of the Berlin painting was still in flux and they sensibly gave it the neutral nomenclature of Follower of Leonardo. It was only with the discovery by Shell and Sironi of documents relating to the commission in the Milan State archives that the attribution of the painting could be resolved. The initial commission is dated 14 June 1491 with the two painters agreeing to complete the work by November or December of the same year. However, the slow progress of the artists is revealed through a second document relating to the commission, dated March 1494, in which the patrons threaten the painters with financial sanctions if they did not complete the altarpiece by June of that year. It is generally agreed that the two figures of the saints are the work of Boltraffio, while d'Oggiono was responsible for the landscape and for Christ rising from the tomb.
While the division of labour in the painting is settled, the same cannot be said for this drawing: Bora gives it to Marco d'Oggiono but Ballarin attributes it to Boltraffio. Fiorio and more recently Marani attempt to square the circle by suggesting that the drawing might even be a collaborative work, or that Marco d'Oggiono based it on a study by Boltraffio.
The medium of the drawing has been confirmed by Satoko Tanimoto and Giovanni Verri from the Department of Scientific Research in a campaign of investigation of the Italian 15th century drawings linked to the forthcoming 2010 exhibition. The analytical methods employed have been non-destructive and non-contact ones: infrared and ultraviolet imaging, with XRF and Raman spectrometry. This investigation revealed an abandoned drapery study at the lower right which was covered over with another layer of preparation.
Jeremy Warren has discovered that Wilhelm van Bode, the director of the Kaiser-Friedrich-Museum in Berlin, was keen to acquire the drawing from Malcolm in the early 1890s, and asked J.C. Robinson to enquire if it was available for sale.
Lit.: J.C. Robinson, 'Descriptive Catalogue of Drawings by the Old Masters, forming the Collection of John Malcolm of Poltalloch, Esq.', London, 1876, no. 47 (as Leonardo); E. Müntz, 'Leonardo da Vinci', Paris, 1899, p. 53; A.E. Popham and P. Pouncey, 'Italian Drawings in the BM, the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries', London, 1950, no. 127, p. 76, pl. CXIV, as Follower of Leonardo (with previous literature); F. Ames-Lewis and J. Wright, in exhib. cat., Nottingham, University Art Gallery and London, Victoria and Albert, 'Drawing in the Italian Renaissance Workshop', 1983, under no. 31, fig. 31a; G. Bora, 'Per un catalogo dei disegni leonardeschi lombardi: indicazioni e problemi di metodo', "Raccolta Vinciana", XXII, 1987, pp. 158-9, 166 (as Marco d'Oggiono); G. Bora, in exhib. cat., Palazzo Reale, Milan, 'Disegni e dipinti leonardeschi dalle collezioni Milanesi', 1987, pp. 15 and 88 (as Marco d'Oggiono); D. Sedini, 'Marco d'Oggiono, tradizione e rinnovamento in Lombardia tra Quattrocento e Cinquecento', Milan, 1989, no. 2, p. 29 (Marco d'Oggiono or Boltraffio); J. Warren, 'Bode and the British', "Jahrbuch der Berliner Museen", 38, 1996, pp. 132-3, fig. 5; J. Shell, 'Marco d'Oggiono' in 'The Legacy of Leonardo, Painters in Lombardy', Milan, 1998, p. 164; M.T. Fiorio, 'Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio: un pittore milanese nel lume di Leonardo', Milan and Rome , 2000, p. 138 and no. C10 (? Boltraffio); P.C. Marani, 'Leonardo's Drawings in Milan and their influence on the graphic work of Milanese artists', in exhib. cat. (ed. C.C. Bambach), New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 'Leonardo da Vinci Master Draftsman', 2003, p. 167, fig. 85 (as Marco d'Oggiono and ? Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio); C. Van Cleave, 'Master Drawings of the Italian Renaissance', London, 2007, p. 110, illustrated p. 111 (as d'Oggiono); C.C. Bambach (author of entry wrongly assigned to F. Viatte) in exhib. cat., Paris, Louvre, 'Léonard de Vinci, dessins et manuscrits', 2003, no. 120 (as Attributed to Boltraffio); G. Bora, in exhib. cat., Paris, Louvre, 'Léonard de Vinci, dessins et manuscrits', 2003, 'Les léonardesques, Léonard de Vinci et les "léonardesques" lombards: les difficultés d'une conquête du naturel', p. 324 (as d'Oggiono); H. Chapman and M. Faietti, exhib. cat., BM, London, `Fra Angelico to Leonardo: Italian Renaissance Drawings`, 2010, no. 71, pp.248-9 (cat. entry by H. Chapman).
Popham & Pouncey 1950
The drapery corresponds more or less closely with part of that of Christ rising from the tomb in the picture at Berlin (Bodmer 49; best repr. 'Prussian Jahrbuch', op. cit., fig. 1). It is, however, undoubtedly not copied from the picture and must be a study for it. There are considerable differences, notably in the head and in the hair, which, in the Berlin picture, falls over and covers much of the drapery on the shoulder. The pose of the figure and the facial expression and type may have been suggested by the 'Laocoon'; if this is so, the drawing must date from not earlier than 1506, when the group was discovered. The head in the picture hardly suggests a derivation from the 'Laocoon'.
The picture, first heard of in the church of S. Liberata, Milan, was claimed as Leonardo's by Bode ('Prussian Jahrbuch', v (1884), pp. 293 ff.). The attribution found no general acceptance among critics but was reiterated by Bode himself in a somewhat modified form ('Prussian Jahrbuch', xxxvi (1915), p. 203). More recently Emil Möller, loc. cit., has tried to establish Leonardo's authorship for the two kneeling figures only.
Berenson regards the drawing as a faithful copy of a lost sketch for the drapery of Christ in the Berlin 'Resurrection': "Milanese, by Salai or Melzi, although the original can have been no later than the period between the 'Adoration' and the 'Virgin of the Rocks' Seidlitz and Möller attribute the drawing to Predis. It is in any case certainly not by Leonardo, but seems to us to have all the marks of an original drawing, rather than a copy.
Literature: JCR 47: BB 1261D; B.M. Guide, 1895, no. 43; E. Möller, Prussian Jahrbuch, lx (1939), p. 86, fig. 9; W. von Seidlitz, Vienna Jahrbuch, xxvi (1906), p. 42 (note), fig. 19; Suida, pp. 87 f.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2003, May-July, Paris, Musée du Louvre, Léonard de Vinci: Dessins et manuscrits, no.120
2010 April-July, BM, `Fra Angelico to Leonardo`, no.71
2011, March-June, Uffizi, Florence, 'Figure, Memorie, Spazio: Disegni da Fra'Angelico a Leonardo', no.71
2011/12 Nov-Feb, London, National Gallery, Leonardo da Vinci
2015 May-Jul, Washington, National Gallery of Art, 'Drawing in Silver and Gold'
2015 10 Sep-6 Dec, London, British Museum, 'Drawing in Silver and Gold'
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number