- Museum number
St Peter baptising St Prisca; at the altar steps, reading from a book held by figures at r, a girl with a tray at right foreground, an ewer before her
Pen and brown ink, with grey-brown wash, heightened with white (partly oxidised), over red chalk, on pale blue paper
- Production date
Height: 380 millimetres
Width: 268 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- In 1600 Cardinal Benedetto Giustiniani paid for the redecoration of the church of S. Prisca in Rome, and as part of this programme he commissioned a new high altarpiece showing St Prisca's baptism. This and a sketchy first idea in the BM (1978,0520.4) record Baglione's unsuccessful attempts to gain this commission eventually executed by the Florentine painter Domenico Passignano.
Lit.: J.C. Robinson, 'Descriptive Catalogue of Drawings by the Old Masters, forming the Collection of John Malcolm of Poltalloch, Esq.', London, 1876, no. 225* (the asterix denotes it was acquired after J.C. Robinson's involvement with the Malcolm collection); J.A. Gere and P. Pouncey, 'Italian drawings in the BM, Artists working in Rome', London, 1983, no. 36 (with previous bibliuography); M. Smith O'Neil, 'Giovanni Baglione, artistic reputation in Baroque Rome', Cambridge, 2002, Appendix 2: Drawings, no. 32
Gere & Pouncey 1983
Attributed to Baglione when in the Crozat Collection, and subsequently. No painting is known with which the drawing can be connected, but in 'Manierismo' the suggestion was put forward that this might have been a rejected project for the high altarpiece of the church of S. Prisca, on the Aventine. In the existing altarpiece of the same subject, by Domenico Passignano, the figures are on the same relative scale and are disposed in rather the same way; and the redecoration of the church in the Jubilee Year 1600, which presumably included the altarpiece, was undertaken at the expense of the same Cardinal Benedetto Giustiniani for whom Baglione painted "due amori divini", one of them probably not long before 1603 (see Baglione, p. 403, and Bertolotti, 'Lombardi', ii, pp. 62f.).
The hypothesis was subsequently confirmed by Dr F. Zeri, who kindly brought to our attention a sheet of studies for the same composition, in his own possession, inscribed "ioannes Baglionus F." and embodying the heraldic devices of Pope Clement VIII Aldobrandini (1592-1605), which has on the verso a MS note beginning "Memoria et schandalgio dele Pitture che Vano a Sata. Prischa Per servizio Del Ill.mo et Rev.mo Sìg.re il Sig.re Cardinal Giustiniani".
A study for Prisca and her companion at Chantilly (145, as L. Carracci), is on the same sheet as one for the group in the background of the 'Presentation in the Temple in S. Maria dell'Orto', a work dated 1598. Vitzthum's suggestion that a drawing of a standing old man, at Capodimonte (neg. no. 5657), could be for St Peter was confirmed by the closely similar pose of the Saint in Dr Zeri's composition study.
1978,0520.4 is a small sketch for the entire composition.
Literature: JCR 225; Gere, Manierismo, pl. xxxviii
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2009 May-Sep, Ottawa, NG of Canada, From Raphael to the Carracci
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number