- Museum number
Aspertini sketch-book (so-called London I): 41st opening
left (1898,1123.3(40) verso) and right-hand page (1898,1123.3(41) recto) with a cloaked shepherd leaning on a staff; classical nude male sculpture (so-called Hermes Farnese); a female draped figure (Venus ?); two seated nude figures, one resting on a wellhead (?); a chariot with two small figures holding each other, one pointing at one of the erotes? in the sky (left side of opening); sculptures of the seated Apollo and Apollo 'Citharoedus', long haired god with arms above head; sculpted torso seen from rear; and a male figure seated on a globe (right side of opening) c. 1535
Pen and brown (two shades) ink, brown wash, over black chalk, touches of white heightening, on vellum rubbed with black and red chalk
- Production date
Height: 248 millimetres
Width: 184 millimetres (each page)
- Curator's comments
- Left-hand page
As noted by Bober (1957, p. 70) the figure of the shepherd on the upper tier is probably Aspertini's invention, whereas the other drawings on both pages seems all to be recordings of statues originally in the Sassi collection in Rome and subsequently in the Farnese collection (for a view of the Sassi court by Heemskerck see www.census.de, ID 10003840). The middle figure derives from the Hermes Farnese, today in the British Museum (BM 1219/GR 1864,10.21.1and census ID 15530) . The female statue is of a Venus Genetrix type with a roman portrait head. Bober is unsure about the identification with the Venus today in the Museo Nazionale in Naples (www.census.de, ID 25919), as she thinks it was said to come from excavations around Naples and not from the Sassi court, but infact it seems that the provenance of that Venus is indeed from the Sassi court (see www.census.de, ID 25919; see also British Museum 2003.6.29.18.20r). At the time of Heemskerck's drawing the statue was missing the left forearm and the entire right arm and that explains Aspertini's sketch. The head remains somewhat problematic, because if on one side Aspertini's rendering is certainly close to Heemskercks' drawing, on the other hand the same cannot necessarily be said for the statue in Naples as we see it today. The smaller group with the chariot of the lower tier might loosely derive from sarcophagi representing myths like the Rape of Proserpina (Bober indicates an examples in the Vatican which depicts Pluto carrying her off to the left and Erotes hovering in the sky, C.Robert, 'Die antiken Sarkophagreliefs', Berlin 1890-, III3, no. 382) or Endyminion, which could have been part of the Sassi collection or, possibly, from images represented on cameos or gems. The style of these smaller figures is closer to that found in London II. For further comments see Bober, id. Scaglietti (Faietti-Scaglietti 1995, p. 190 under cat. dip. 45) finds a resonance between the types and facial expressions of this page (and of ff. 1898,1123.3.13 and 1898,1123.3.19) and those present in the organ shutters of San Petronio, suggesting a similar dating for the latter and this London sketchbook.
Lit.: P.P. Bober, 'Drawings after the Antique by Amico Aspertini. Sketchbooks in the British Museum', London, 1957, f. 40v, pp. 70-1; M.V. Brugnoli, Note sulla cultura figurative e cronologica nella maturità dell'Aspertini, in "Paragone", 401-403, 1983, pp. 83-4; M. Faietti-D. Scaglietti Kelescian, 'Amico Aspertini', Modena, 1995, pp. 177 and 190.
As noted by Bober (1957, p. 71) the figure of the seated Apollo derives from the colossal porphyry statue now in Naples (Bober-Rubinstein 1986, no. 36, p. 77, see www.census.de, ID 16138) and, as it was considered female in the Renaissance, also Aspertini interpretes it as such. The staute has undergone numerous restorations, but at the time of Heemskerck's drawing (see comment on left-hand page) it was missing both arms. Aspertini seems to attempt a 'restoration' awkwardly adding the left forearm pointing upwards and with the fingers in act of playing the strings. The second is an Apollo Citharoedus today in Naples (Bober 1957, fig. 88, see www.census.de, ID 15818).
The torso in the lower tier, according to Bober, closely resembles the Praxitelean Apollo Sauroctonos type also in Naples (see www.census.de, ID 214686). For further comments about other artists looking at this torso see D. Ekserdjian, 'Parmigianino and Michelangelo', "Master Drawings", 31, Winter 1993, pp. 390-4 and idem, 'A Dürer drawing and a classical torso', "Master Drawings", 32, Autumn 1994, pp. 273-4. The small figure on the globe has not been identified, but like the ones on the left-hand page could derive from either a relief or a cameo (for further comments see Bober 1957, p. 71).
Lit.: P.P. Bober, 'Drawings after the Antique by Amico Aspertini. Sketchbooks in the British Museum', London, 1957, f. 41, p. 71; P.P. Bober-R. Rubinstein, 'Renaissance Artists and Antique Sculpture', New York, 1986, under no. 36
1994, pp. 273-4.
For a general introduction to the sketchbook see 1898,1123.3.1
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number