- Museum number
Aspertini sketch-book (so-called London I): 9th opening
left (1898,1123.3(9) verso) and right-hand page (1898,1123.3(10) recto) with classical entablatures; a column base; a vertical grottesche relief; a palmette capital; a group of figures, one holding a vase; an Ionic or Corinthian entablature; a candelabrum (left page); a war helmet; a Composite capital; and a bull being led to sacrifice (right page) c. 1535
Pen and brown ink, brown wash, some over red chalk (left page), some heightened with white , on vellum
- Production date
Height: 248 millimetres
Width: 184 millimetres (each page)
- Curator's comments
- Comment on left-hand page
Grottesche ornament of the type used in Renaissance for pilaster decoration. Similar example appears in Codex Escurialensis, left hand side of f. 50v. (H. Egger, Codex Escurialensis, ein skizzenbuch aus der werkstatt Domenico Ghirlandaios, Wien 1906, p. 127; see www.census.de, ID 10000328; on this sheet appears also one of the Vatican candelabra, see below). Entablature of a Roman building also found in the Codex Coner in the Soane Museum (f. 75v; for the codex see T. Buddensieg, 'Bernardo della Volpaia und Giovanni Francesco da Sangallo:Der Autor des Codex Coner und seine Stellung im Sangallo-Kreis', in Römische Jahrbuch für Kunstgeschichte, 1975, 15, pp. 89-108). Column base and octagonal palmette capital also found in Sangallo's codex Barberini (f. 10v, see www.census.de, ID 17146 ; for the codex see C. Hülsen, 'Il libro di Giuliano da Sangallo.Codice Barberiniano Latino 4424', 2 vols, Leipzig 1910 - reprinted in 1984 by the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana). The figures below are disposed over a circular marble vessel richly ornamented with palmette, guilloche and other motifs. A 16th century drawing in the Ashmolean (Album of John Talman, Oxford, Ashmolean, f. 106r, see www.census.de, ID 16688; Bober 1957, fig. 26) shows it together with the octagonal palmette capital described above, an indication for Bober that in the source common to Amico and the anonymous draughtsman of the Talman album both pieces were recorded on the same leaf. The upper portion of consoles and cornice of the Ionic (or Corinthian) entablature was once found in San Giovanni in Laterano and is identical with an epistyle in the Codex Coner (f. 80v, www.census.de, ID 60123) inscribed "in s. gio: lat:", in Sangallo's codex Barberini, f. 11v (see census ID 10000126) and in the Fossombrone Sketchbook, f. 10 (census ID 67009). The reliefs on the base of the candelabrum with sphinxes and ram's heads resemble the foliate putti on one of the Vatican candelabra from the church of Sant'Agnese in Rome (Vatican Museums invv. 2566 and 2564, see www.census.de, ID 202989; for the other one see ID 157062). These were well known in the Renaissance and they probably served as models for Aspertini or the draughtsman he copied (for further observations on the candelabra see Nesselrath 1993, pp. 151-4).The base of the candelabra is also similar to the right hand side one in a drawing by Aspertini in the Fogg Art Museum (Faietti-Scaglietti 1995, cat. dis. 12, p. 230). Aspertini had recorded the Sant'Agnese's candelabra also in the Parma Codex 1535, pp. 80 and 84 (see Faietti-Scaglietti 1995, catt. dis. 4), and in two drawings in Berlin (Kupferstichkabinett KdZ 5635 and KdZ 16624, catt. 89b and 91 in 'Amico Aspertini, artista bizzarro nell'età di Dürer e Raffaello', exh. Cat. Bologna 2008-09).
Lit: P.P. Bober, 'Drawings after the Antique by Amico Aspertini. Sketchbooks in the British Museum', London, 1957, f. 8v, pp. 13, 18, 55-6; M. Faietti-D. Scaglietti Kelescian , 'Amico Aspertini', Modena, 1995, under cat.dis. 12, p. 230; A. Nesselrath, 'Das Fossombroner Skizzenbuch', London, 1993, pp. 104 and 153. I. Campbell, 'Ancient Roman Topography and Architecture' in 'The Paper Museum of Cassiano dal Pozzo', 9, vol. II, London 2004, p. 631.
Comment on right-hand page
The helmet is inspired by a Roman relief. In his earlier codex Wolfegg (ff. 44v-45 below)
Aspertini records two helmets "in larco novo" which appear to have been amalgamated here (the ram cheek piece from one, the centaur decoration and winged horse supporting the crest from the other). The composite capital resembles another one drawn in another sketch-book by Aspertini in the BM (so called London II, f. 17v;1862,0712.410v). The victimarii leading a bull to sacrifice at the bottom of the page derive from the Suovetaurilia relief in the Louvre (Bober-Rubinstein 1986, no. 190, p. 223, see www.census.de, ID 26549 ); this subject appears also in Codex Wolfegg, ff. 30v-31, BM 1905,1110.2 and on the left-hand page of 1898,1123.3.2. For further observations see Bober 1957 and Schweikhart 1986.
Lit.: P.P. Bober, 'Drawings after the Antique by Amico Aspertini. Sketchbooks in the British Museum', London, 1957, f. 9, pp. 13, 18, 55-6; P.P. Bober-R. Rubinstein, 'Renaissance Artists and Antique Sculpture', New York, 1986, under no. 190; G. Schweikhart, 'Der Wolfegg Codex. Zeichnungen nach der Antike von Amico Aspertini', London, 1986, pp. 76-7, 104-6.
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
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