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Apollo and Hyacinth; two nude men seated together, one on the knee of the other, a putto behind at left, looking to front
Pen and brown ink, over black chalk
- Production date
Height: 173 millimetres
Width: 133 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Since Turner 1999 (see below), James Grantham Turner has compiled evidence that Apollo and Hyacinthus, despite its homosexual theme, was actually among the commonest prints in the Loves of the Gods series. It survives in three examples of the first state (in the Biblioteca Marucelliana, Florence; the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; and the Kupferstichkabinett of the Kunsthalle in Hamburg), and six examples of the second state (in the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris; Szépmüvészeti Museum, Budapest; and four copies in the Istituto Centrale per la Grafica, Rome, two from the Corsini collection and two from the Pio Collection). There are also seven known copies by other printmakers. (J.G. Turner, 'Caraglio's Loves of the Gods', "Print Quarterly", XXIV (2007), pp. 359-80, figs. 6-7)
Lit.: A.E. Popham, 'Catalogue of Drawings in the Collection formed by Sir Thomas Phillipps, Bart., F.R.S., now in the possession of his Grandson, T. Fitzroy Phillipps Fenwick of Thirlestaine House, Cheltenham', I, London, 1935, p. 106, no. 5 (as Attributed to Perino del Vaga); N. Turner, 'Italian drawings in the BM, Roman Baroque Drawings', London, 1999, no. 361.
As Perino del Vaga in the Phillipps-Fenwick collection. The drawing was accessioned as "after Perino del Vaga [?]", but was soon afterwards transferred to the unmounted drawings of the eighteenth-century Bolognese painter Donato Creti (1671-1749).
The composition reproduces one of a series of engravings illustrating the 'Loves of the Gods' by Jacopo Caraglio, which had been commissioned by the Roman publisher il Baviera ('TIB', 28 Commentary, pp.205-7). According to Vasari, Rosso Fiorentino was responsible for two of the designs while Perino del Vaga supplied the remaining ones shortly after the sack of Rome in 1527 (Vasari, ed. Milanesi, 1878-85, v, pp.425 and 611).
The engraving 'Apollo and Hyacinth' is known only through later copies in the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, which are in the same direction as the present drawing but lack some of its detail. A red chalk study in the British Museum by Perino del Vaga, preparatory to the print 'Vertumnus and Pomona' and in reverse to it (Pouncey and Gere, 1962, no. 163), seems to be the only other drawing hitherto connected with the engraved series. The laborious cross-hatching of 1946,0713.1275 differs quite significantly from most of Perino's drawn oeuvre. Taking into consideration, however, that the drawing refers to a print and that the 'Vertumnus and Pomona' study is similarly detailed, one ought not exclude the possibility that 1946,0713.1275 may be an autograph preparatory study by Perino or an artist from Raphael's school rather than a copy after the print. There is much in the drawing's style to suggest the work of Giulio Romano (c. 1499-1546).
Hyacinth, son of the Spartan king Amyclas, was a youth of extraordinary beauty and was beloved by both Apollo and Zephyrus. Only the love of Apollo did he return. While he was playing at quoits with Apollo, Zephyrus, out of jealousy, blew the quoit with such force against the head of the youth that he fell down dead. From the blood of Hyacinth there sprang the flower of the same name.
Literature: Popham, 1935, p. 106, no. 5 (as Perino del Vaga).
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
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