- Museum number
Aspertini sketch-book (so-called London I): 21st opening
left (1898,1123.3(21) verso) and right-hand page (1898,1123.3(22) recto) with deeds of Hercules: battling with Hydra, a many-headed snake; Hercules embracing a woman (Omphale ?); Hercules lifting Antaeus off the ground; Hercules carrying two columns on his shoulders; nude male figure running forward; Hercules with his club in one hand fighting Antaeus (?) (left side of opening); Hercules and the Cretan Bull; Hercules and the Nemean Lion; two seated figures of Hercules; and Hercules strangling the Nemean Lion (right side of opening) c. 1535
Black chalk, brown wash, on vellum
- Production date
Height: 248 millimetres
Width: 184 millimetres (each page)
- Curator's comments
- As observed by Bober (1957, p. 64) some of the figures are loosely inspired by antiquity: the source for Hercules attacking the Hydra is likely to have been the second figure from the left of a lost sarcophagus recorded in the Codex Pighianus (f. 311 according to Bober, f. 328v according to Census: see www.census.de, ID 10001688; C. Robert, 'Die antiken Sarkophagreliefs', Berlin 1890-, III, no. 101); the nude figure running forward can be compared to the first figure on the left of the same sarcophagus; the pose of the hero in Hercules attacking Antheus (?) with a club resembles that in the Hydra episode on the Museo Torlonia sarcophagus which stood in the Renaissance at the Palazzo Savelli in Rome and was partly the source also for f.1898,1123.3.19 (Bober-Rubinstein no. 134, p. 170 - no connection made with Aspertini in the entry; see www.census.de, ID 16509). The composition for Hercules and the Cretan Bull occurs on both the Savelli sarcophagus and that in the Villa Borghese (Robert, ASR, no. 127; see www.census.de, ID 25580); in Hercules and the Nemean Lion Aspertini is readapting the fragmentary episode of the Stymphalian Birds represented on the Vatican sarcophagus drawn by Aspertini on f. 1898,1123.3.18 and on f. 41v of the codex Wolfegg (Robert, ASR, III, no. 129; see www.census.de, ID 16615); the two seated figures of Hercules are probably inspired by details of some sarcophagus cover (compare for example a seated figure of a Hercules sarcophagus in Robert, ASR, III, no. 116); Hercules strangling the Nemean Lion is either after the Savelli sarcophagus or after the example in Villa Borghese. According to Faietti (Faietti-Scaglietti, 1995, p. 83) this representations of Hercules are particularly close to those of the fresco cycle of Hercules Labours in Castello Isolani in Minerbio (Faietti-Scaglietti 1995, cat. dip. 49). The representation on the top left of Hercules and Antheus is also close to another drawing by Aspertini in the Uffizi (Faietti-Scaglietti 1995, cat. dis. 58v, pp. 272-3). Scaglietti (Faietti-Scaglietti 1995, p. 202) thinks that this opening is like a general memorandum for the whole Sala di Ercole. Aspertini's interest in Hercules is represented throughout his carreer, as it can be seen in this and more of his drawings: Faietti-Scaglietti 1995, cat. dis. 26; Wolfegg Codex, f. 41v; Faietti-Scaglietti 1995, catt. dis. 75-76; 1898,1123.3.18, 1898,1123.3.19, left-hand page of 1898,1123.3.43, 1898,1123.3.48 [Bober 17v-18, 18v-19, 43v, 48v]; London II, 1862,0712.410v and 1862,0712.416v (ff. 17v and f. 23v); Faietti-Scaglietti 1995 cat. dis. 102). See also f. 17v-18 above.
Lit.: P.P. Bober, 'Drawings after the Antique by Amico Aspertini. Sketchbooks in the British Museum', London, 1957, f. 20v-21, pp. 64-5; G. Schweikhart, 'Der Wolfegg Codex. Zeichnungen nach der Antike von Amico Aspertini', London, 1986, pp. 52, 95-6; M. Faietti- D. Scaglietti Kelescian , 'Amico Aspertini', Modena, 1995, p. 83 and under catt. dis. 58 and 102.
For images of the codex Wolfegg see www.census.de, ID 60826
For a general introduction to the sketchbook see 1898,1123.3.1
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number