- Museum number
A group of mourning figures including a female figure seated on the ground, her hands clased
Pen and brown ink
- Production date
Height: 249 millimetres
Width: 168 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Engraved by Ryland while in J. Barnard's collection.
The first of a fine group of drawings in the British Museum charting the development of Rapahel's altarpiece of the 'Entombment' painted for the Baglione family burial chapel in San Francesco al Prato, Perugia (see Dussler, pp. 23-4, pl. 67; Meyer zur Capellen, 2001, no. 31, pp. 233-46. For a recent commentary on the patronage, see D. Cooper, 'Raphael's altar-pieces in S. Francesco al Prato, Perugia: patronage, setting and function', 'The Burlington Magazine', CXLIII. pp. 557-561). According to Vasari, the altarpiece, now in the Borghese Gallery, Rome was commissioned by Atalanta Baglione to commemorate the murder of her son, Grifone. The painting is signed on the lower left 'RAPHAEL. VRBINAS. M.D. VII.'. Raphael is thought to have executed the drawings in Florence in 1506, but the work was probably painted when he returned to his studio in Perugia. Seen as a group, the studies for this altarpiece demonstrate Raphael's absorption of Florentine art, especially that of Michelangelo.
Raphael's initial idea for the altarpiece was influenced more by Perugino than any of the Florenitne artists. The early compositional sketches show that Raphael intended to paint a 'Lamentation' similar to Perugino's altarpiece of the same subject in Santa Chiara, Florence (now Galleria Palatina, Palazzo Pitti, see P. Scarpellini, 'Perugino', Milan, 1984, cat. 63). This idea is represented in two early ideas for the composition, both studies of a 'Lamentation' based on Perugino's original: a sheet at the Ashmolean, Oxford (K.T. Parker, 'Catalogue of Drawings in the Ashmolean Museum, vol. II, Italian Schools', Oxford, 1956, cat. 529; Joannides, no. 127) and a sheet in the Louvre (inv. 3865, see Joannides, cat. no. 125). The present drawing develops the group of figures on the right of the Ashmolean composition. In this study, Raphael made changes to the heads of Joseph of Arimathea and John the Evangelist on the left, inserted a fourth standing onlooker, and modified the pose of the seated Magdalene below. Like many of the other studies for the altarpiece, this sheet was drawn in pen and ink. A nude sketch of the four onlookers, which must come after the British Museum drawing because it includes four figures, also survives in the Ashmolean (Parker, II, cat. 530; Joannides, no. 124).
The Ashmolean 'Lamentation' inspired later 16thc. engravings by Marcantonio Raimondi and Agostino Veneziano. Scholars (notably Parker, Pouncey and Gere) considered the engraving by Marcantonio (B.XIV.43.37) to be the first of these prints, but recently it has been pointed out that the Veneziano print of 1516 (B.XIV.44.39) precedes the Marcantonio version (see D. Cordellier and B. Py, 'Raphael: Autour des dessins du Louvre', exh. cat., Villa Medici, Rome, 1992, no. 33, 34 and pp. 106-7. Also D. Landau and P. Parshall, 'The Renaissance Print: 1470-1550', New Haven and London, 1994, pp. 137-139, figs. 141-143. The latter's argument that Agostino's print is the primary version because Christ has no chest wound is corroborated by the Ashmolean drawing where Christ is also without wounds).
On the verso of the drawing, which is now laid down, there are sketches of foliage and scrolls not considered to be by Raphael.
For other drawings in the British Museum related to the Baglione 'Entombment', see 1895-9-15-617, 1963-12-16-1 and 1855-2-14-1.
A copy after the present drawing was sold at Millon & Associes, Drouot, Paris, 24 June 2010, lot 33.
Lit.: P. Pouncey and J.A. Gere, 'Italian Drawings in the BM, Raphael and his circle', London, 1962, no.10 (with previous literature); J. Pope-Hennessy, 'Raphael', New York, 1970, p. 53, fig. 46; L. Dussler, 'Raphael: A Critical Catalogue', London, 1971, p. 24; L. Ferrara, S. Staccioli, A.M. Tantillo, 'Rafaello Santi, Storia e restauro della Deposizione di Raffaello', exh. cat. Galleria Borghese, Rome, 1972, p. 18; J.A. Gere and N. Turner in exh. cat. BM, 'Drawings by Raphael', 1983, no. 73; P. Joannides, 'The Drawings of Raphael', Oxford, 1983, no. 128; E. Knab, E. Mitsch, K. Oberhuber, 'Raphael Die Zeichnungen', Stuttgart, 1983, no. 188; N. Turner in exh. cat. BM, 'Florentine Drawings of the Sixteenth Century', London, 1986, no. 21; D. Cordellier and B. Py, 'Inventaire général des dessins italiens, V: Raphaël, son atelier, ses copistes', Musée du Louvre, Départment des Arts Graphiques, Paris, 1992, pp. 69-73; D. Cordellier and B. Py, 'Raphael: Autour des dessins du Louvre', exh. cat., Villa Medici, Rome, 1992, no. 33, 34 and pp. 106-7; J. Meyer zur Capellen, 'Raphael. The Paintings. Vol. I, The Beginning in Umbria and Florence, ca. 1500-1508', Landshut, 2001, no. 31 A/I.5, pp. 236-240 (with a list of other preparatory studies for the painting); H. Chapman, in exh. cat. (by H. Chapman, T. Henry. C. Plazzotta et al), London, National Gallery, 'Raphael: from Urbino to Rome', 2004, no. 69
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1962-1963 Nov-Sep, BM, 'Raphael and his Circle' (P+G)
1977 May-Jun, Hermitage, 'Italian Renaissance', no. 50
1977 Jul-Aug, Pushkin, Moscow, 'Italian Renaissance', no. 50
1980, Adelaide and Melbourne, no. 51
1983, BM, 'Drawings by Raphael', no. 73
1986, BM, 'Florentine Drawings 16thC', no. 21
1996, BM, Malcolm Drawings, apx
2004-2005 Oct-Jan, London, National Gallery, 'Raphael: From Urbino to Rome'
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Seen by Waagen in C.S. Bale's collection in 1850.
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number