- Museum number
The Conversion of St Paul; the saint falling from his horse at centre, the other men shielding their eyes, an angel appearing above
Pen and brown ink, with brown wash, heightened with white, over red chalk, on brown prepared paper
- Production date
Height: 416 millimetres
Width: 323 millimetres (sight measurement)
- Curator's comments
- This was attributed to Lodovico Carracci by Daniele Benati who suggested that it is a study for the altarpiece of the 'Conversion of St Paul' commissioned in 1587 from the young artist by Emilio Zambeccari for the family's chapel in S. Francesco, Bologna (now Pinacoteca Nazionale, Bologna; illustrated Benati p. 19; Brogi I, pl. XIIXIV; Bohn p. 131). The final payment for the work was made two years later and the painting remained in the church until 1798. Nicholas Turner later endorsed Benati's attribution while Babette Bohn in her monograph on Lodovico's drawings placed it among the rejected works, the entry accepting Laura Giles' suggestion that it was the work of Giacomo Cavedone. Aidan Weston Lewis pointed out that the style and technique of the drawing are more typical of Faccini's work, see the entry for the BM 'St Jerome' 1972,0722.9 which was also previously attributed to Lodovico. Brogi in his monogram on Lodovico Carracci also doubts that the drawing is a study for the altarpiece, although he does note that the technique and measurements match those of a drawing by the artist listed among thirty Carracci works in the 1707 inventory of the painter Lorenzo Pasinelli.
The uncertainty over attribution mirrors that surrounding all other known drawings relating to the commission. Excluding the present one there are three other candidates, all of them drawn with a combination of pen and the brush on brown preparation, put forward at various times as studies by Lodovico for the painting. These are at Windsor Castle (1190; Bohn no. 27 as Ludovico; rejected by Brogi on p. 133); the Metropolitan Museum of Art (2002.33; Brogi thinks closer to Faccini and Cavedone; Bohn no. R41a as Cavedone) and Sotheby's, New York 25 January 2006, lot 65 as Ludovico with the attribution endorsed by Nicholas Turner (now Gray collection, see G. Faigenbaum entry in exhib. cat., Chicago, Art Institute of Chicago, 'Gray Collection: Seven Centuries of Art', 2010, no. 18). The latter drawing was brought into the BM and compared with the present one. I was unsure that the two were by the same hand: the artist responsible for the BM works seems to be much more slapdash with little interest in coherent modelling as shown by the remarkably bendy horse in the foreground. However, Nicholas Turner disagreed with me and felt that both were by Lodovico with the Sotheby's drawing made at a more finished stage as it is closer to the final work. The quality of the Sotheby's drawing makes plain that the Metropolitan work must be (at least to judge from reproductions) a weak copy after it. This leaves the Windsor Castle drawing which does not look like Lodovico either. One possible explanation for three Lodovico-like drawings that come close to the Zambeccari painting is that it was one of the exercises set to his students to come up with variations on it.
Lit.: J.C. Robinson, 'Descriptive Catalogue of Drawings by the Old Masters, forming the Collection of John Malcolm of Poltalloch, Esq.', London, 1876, no. 305 (as Schedoni); D. Benati, 'Disegni Emiliani del Sei-Settecento, come nascono i dipinti', Milan, 1991, no. 2.1, p. 18 and 20 (as Lodovico Carracci); N. Turner, 'Some drawings by Ludovico Carracci and the works they helped to prepare', "Drawing", XVII, 1995-6, pp. 85-91, fig. 32 (as Lodovico Carracci); A. Brogi, 'Ludovico Carracci (1555-1619)', Bologna, 2001, I, under no. 24, p. 133; B. Bohn, 'Ludovico Carracci and the art of drawing', Turnhout, 2004, no. R27, p. 542 (not Lodovico, Cavedone)
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number