- Museum number
Head of Venus, her head lowered and inclined to left, after Raphael
Black chalk, on grey-buff prepared paper, with outlines indented, sheet made up
- Production date
Height: 322 millimetres
Width: 220 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Lit.: J.C. Robinson, 'Descriptive Catalogue of Drawings by the Old Masters, forming the Collection of John Malcolm of Poltalloch, Esq', London, 1876, no. 193 (as Raphael); P. Pouncey and J.A. Gere, 'Italian Drawings in the BM, Raphael and His Circle', London, 1962, I, no. 50
Pouncey & Gere 1962
The head, corresponds, though on a much larger scale, with that of Venus in the fresco of 'Venus and Cupid' in the Bathroom of Cardinal Bibbiena in the Vatican (repr. 'L'Arte', xxix (1926), p. 205), the decoration of which by Raphael's assistants, notably Giulio Romano, was completed by June 1516 according to a letter of Cardinal Bembo (cf. 'Archivio storico dell' arte', iii (1890), p. 279). An engraving by Agostino Veneziano of the 'Venus and Cupid' composition (B. xiv, p. 218, 286) is dated 1516.
There can be little doubt that the decoration was based on indications supplied by Raphael, though the style of some of the mythological scenes suggests that Giulio was allowed some latitude in interpretation.
A series of enlarged fresco copies of the Bathroom compositions, now in the Hermitage (Somof, 1909 Cat., p. 119, nos. 47-51) "were painted - at what date is uncertain - in the Villa Mattei, later Mills, on the Palatine, and Robinson ingeniously suggested that 1895,0915.632 was a fragment of the corresponding cartoon. Through the courtesy of Dr. W. Loevinson-Lessing, Deputy-Director of the Hermitage, a tracing of 1895,0915.632 was compared with the head in question and the conclusion reached was that though the two are the same size there is no demonstrable connection. The face in the fresco is wider, and the features differently placed within it; and while the drawing can be described as Raphaelesque -Robinson was even inclined to attribute it to Raphael himself - the head in the fresco is suggestive rather of the period of Pietro da Cortona.
For another drawing connected with the Bathroom see 1939,0201.1.
Literature: JCR 193; Ruland, p. 277, iii, no. 9.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number