- Museum number
Two angels supporting a column
Pen and brown ink, with brown wash, over black chalk
- Production date
Height: 251 millimetres
Width: 71 millimetres (sight measurement)
- Curator's comments
- Formerly attributed to Parmigianino by Popham, an attribution rejected by Oberhuber in his review of the Parma catalogue. He proposed instead that the drawing was by an artist in the circle of Bertoia. An attribution to Bedoli was first put forward by Milstein, who suggested that it is an early study with many differences for the two angels holding a column in the right foreground of Bedoli's fresco of 'Christ in Majesty' in the apse of Duomo in Parma (M. Di Giampaolo, illustrated p. 52). Bedoli was given the commission to decorate the ceiling of the apse and choir in 1538, and was completed by 1544. Milstein's attribution was rejected by Di Giampaolo who favoured Oberhuber's proposal, but De Grazia in her monograph on Bertoia preferred Popham's attribution to Parmigianino. The connection with the fresco by Bedoli, although not particularly close, is persuasive, especially as the motif is not a common one. In addition, the fluttering drapery and the spindly figures in the drawing are like those in a study for the angels holding the cross (M. Di Giampaolo, no. 89, p. 174). A study for the angel holding up drapery in the upper right of the fresco was sold at Sotheby's, 14 April 1999, lot 231. Mario Di Giampaolo published a study of Christ for the apse in the Uffizi, and in the entry accepted that the present drawing was by the same hand (Di Giampaolo and Muzzi, 2003, no. 81, fig. 106). Mary Vaccaro has also recently argued that the drawing is by Bedoli, despite David Ekserdjian's feeling that it is too good an invention to be by him and should rather be assigned to his cousin Parmigianino.
Another drawing that supports the attribution to Bedoli is the similarity, especially in terms of facial type, with a study by him in the Louvre for an angel on the arched frame of the 'Christ in Majesty' in the apse of Duomo in Parma (Vaccaro 2013, fig. 15).
Lit.: A.E. Popham, 'Italian drawings in the BM, Artists working in Parma in the Sixteenth Century', London, 1967, I, no. 122, II, pl. 101 (as Parmigianino); K. Oberhuber, review of BM Parma catalogue, "Master Drawings", VIII, 1970, 3, p. 284 (as follower of Bertoia); A.E. Popham, 'Catalogue of the Drawings of Parmigianino', Cambridge, 1971, no. 225 (as Parmigianino); R. Milstein, 'The Paintings of Gerolamo Mazzola Bedoli', New York and London, 1978, pp. 172-3; D. De Grazia, 'Bertoia, Mirola and the Farnese Court', Bologna, 1991, no. D/R 32, p. 147; M. Di Giampaolo, 'Girolamo Bedoli 1500 - 1569', Florence, 1997, under no. 89, p. 174; H. Chapman, 'A.E. Popham's Catalogue of Parmese Drawings in the British Museum: some changes and additions over thirty-five years', in L. Fornari Schianchi (ed.), "Parmigianino e il manierismo europeo, Atti del Convegno internazionale di studi", 2002, pp. 242-6; M. Di Giampaolo e A. Muzzi, exh. cat., Florence, Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe degli Uffizi, 'Il Parmigianino e il fascino di Parma', 2003, under no. 81; M. Vaccaro, 'New attributions for drawings by Girolamo Mazzola Bedoli for Parma Cathedral', "Master Drawings", 51, Summer 2013, p. 171-2, fig. 13
Attributed to Primaticcio when acquired. Later transferred to Anselmi at the suggestion of Antal, who had observed the resemblance between this drawing and one in the Uffizi of 'The Virgin and Child with St. Roch and St. Sebastian' which had been exhibited in the Correggio Exhibition in Parma in 1935 as a study by Anselmi for his altar-piece of the same subject in the Parma Gallery (Uffizi 1998F; Popham, 'Parmigianino', pl. xxvii; Parma Exh. Cat., p. 171, no. 67); but in spite of the close iconographic parallel between the two works I can see no reason for doubting the traditional attribution of the Uffizi drawing to Parmigianino.
Also close in style to 1900,0510.1 are the 'Madonna enthroned' in the Louvre (6384; Freedberg, pl. 86) and, though this is in red chalk, the 'Virgin and Child with the Infant St. John' in the Pierpont Morgan Library (iv. 48). This group of drawings is not easy to date, but on the whole I would be inclined to place them in Parmigianino's Bolognese period, between 1527 and 1531.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1978, BM, Gainsborough and Reynolds in the BM, no 244
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number