- Museum number
Aspertini sketch-book (so-called London I): 7th opening
left (1898,1123.3(7) verso) and right-hand page (1898,1123.3(8) recto) with the corpse of Meleager being carried to his tomb and a draped female figure (upper part of opening); Three Graces (lower left); and a naked reclining male figure seen from the rear (lower right) c. 1535
Pen and brown ink, brown wash, small touches of white heightening, on vellum
- Production date
Height: 248 millimetres
Width: 184 millimetres (each page)
- Curator's comments
- According to Bober the upper part is evidently inspired by a sarcophagus cover in the Palazzo Sciarra frequently studied in the 15th and 16th centuries (Bober-Rubinstein 1986, no. 118, p. 147, now lost; see codex Coburgensis, f. 60, see www.census.de, ID 22338; Bober believes it to be the cover of the Meleager sarcophagus once in the della Valle Collection, see 1898,1123.16). Aspertini adapts it inserting in the background figures otherwise placed in the sarcophagus: the beckoner is found further to the right on the original; the mourner is based upon the servant before the chariot. The naked youth seen from the back on the left of the right-hand page derives from the figure following the bearers of Meleager's body on the above mentioned relief. Aspertini places him in conversation with a female figure apparently inspired by the youth next to the pyre of the same relief (note the same pose and the hand wrapped in his mantle), but also dependent upon a statue of the type of Juno (Bober-Rubinstein 1986 no. 7, p. 55) which in the mid 1520s was restored with an antique head and then incorporated among the Augustan reliefs from the Ara Pietatis (www.census.de, ID 26108); these were arranged on the upper walls of the della Valle collection courtyard built c. 1525-36 ( the figure on the left of the relief was the source for one of the figures on the left-hand page of 1898,1123.3.5; for the relief today in Villa Medici, see S. Reinach, 'Répertoire de reliefs grecs et romains', Paris 1909-12, III, 313, 1, Bober 1957, pp. 53-4 and fig. 15, and Bober-Rubinstein 1986, p. 55).
Aspertini's head does not resemble the one used for the restoration, so it is not possible to use this drawing to date his possible third visit to Rome. For other drawings in this sketch-book after statues or reliefs in the della Valle Collection see also 1898,1123.3.3; 1898,1123.3.5; 1898,1123.3.13; 1898,1123.3.16; 1898,1123.3.36; 1898,1123.38; 1898,1123.3. 45; 1898,1123.3.47 and 1898,1123.3.48 [Bober 2v-3, 4v-5, 12v-13, 15v-16, 37, 38v-39, 45v, 47v, 48v]. The reclining male nude seen from behind at the bottom right of the sheet does not appear in the Sciarra relief. The pose of the heads of the Three Graces and the missing of freely restored arms conform to the famous Siena marble group so influential in the Renaissance (Bober-Rubinstein 1986, no. 60, p. 96, www.census.de, ID 15817). Yet the fact that the central figure is seen from the front distinguishes Aspertini's drawing from any of the preserved ancient representations of the group. It must also be noted that the Siena group had left Rome already in 1502. Aspertini might have copied a contemporary engraving.
Lit: P.P. Bober, 'Drawings after the Antique by Amico Aspertini. Sketchbooks in the British Museum', London, 1957, ff. 6v-7, pp. 53-4; P.P. Bober-R. Rubinstein, 'Renaissance Artists and Antique Sculpture', New York, 1986, under nos. 7, 118; A. Nesselrath, 'Das Fossombroner Skizzenbuch', London, 1993, pp. 38, 184.
For a general introduction to the sketchbook see 1898,1123.3.1
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number