- Museum number
Two groups of nude figures, after Luca Signorelli; whole-length, including a woman standing at centre and a man seen from behind at far l, some of the figures with heads tilted back
Pen and brown ink, over red chalk, some outlines at left indented and some outlines at right pricked for transfer
- Production date
- 1456-1523 (circa)
Height: 286 millimetres
Width: 413 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- This sheet seems to be a tracing from a drawing for the fresco of the 'Resurrection of the Flesh' at Orvieto Cathedral. Another drawing, now at Christ Church, Oxford (JBS 7), is in the same style. These sheets differ slightly from the completed frescoes, implying that the original was a preparatory drawing and not a copy of the finished work. They were probably drawn by Signorelli's assistants as they copied, emulated and absorbed his style.
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', London, 1935, p. 10, no. 5; B. Berenson, 'The Drawings of the Florentine Painters', Chicago, 1938, II, no. 2509 K-2, p. 336 (in 1961 edition no. 2509 N-3*); A.E. Popham and P. Pouncey, 'Italian drawings in the BM, the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries', London, 1950, I, no. 248 (with previous literature); A. Martindale, 'Luca Signorelli and the Drawings Connected with the Orvieto Frescoes', 'The Burlington Magazine', CIII, 1961, p. 219; J. Byam Shaw, 'Drawings by Old Masters at Christ Church, Oxford', Oxford, 1976, I, under no. 7, p. 34; C. Van Cleave, 'Luca Signorelli as a Draughtsman', unpublished D.Phil. diss., Oxford, 1995, cat. B10, pp. 202-3.
Popham & Pouncey 1950
The groups correspond, with differences, with those on either side of the centre axis of the fresco of the 'Resurrection' at Orvieto (K. der K. 98), that on the l. being in the middle distance, that on the r. in the background. The differences are: that in the drawing all the figures are shown completely nude and unobscured by other figures stooping and kneeling in the foreground; that in the l.-hand group a man's head appears between the second and third figures from the 1.; that the r.-hand group consists of only five figures (the second and fourth from the 1. in the fresco being omitted) ; while one of the five, that on the extreme l. of the group, is differently posed from the corresponding figure in the fresco. One of the remaining four, occupying the position of the woman whose head is partly visible second from the right, is a man, whose head is entirely visible.
The outlines of the figures are extremely crude and cannot be Signorelli's work. The drawing appears to be a tracing from an original drawing for the fresco.
In the pricked outlines of the group on the r. the position of the arms of the central figure has been altered so that they appear bound behind his back. The same applies to the figure on the 1. The pricking does not follow the outlines of the figure on the r. : it repeats in reverse the figure on the 1. We see as a result a symmetrical group of three figures bound to a column, the base of which is drawn in red chalk. It would seem that the figures in the fresco were adapted to serve some decorative purpose.
An inscription in the r.-hand bottom corner has been very thoroughly erased.
Literature: BB 2509 K-2 (Gazette, x (1933), p. 287, fig. 7); Fenwick Catalogue, p. 10, no. 5.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number