- Museum number
A rocky landscape with hermits; steps leading to a building with a bell in the hillside
Pen and brown ink, with brown wash, heightened with white (partly oxidised), on blue paper
- Production date
Height: 355 millimetres
Width: 528 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- The attribution to Polidoro da Caravaggio can be traced back to the 18th century when it was in the collection of Paignon Dijonval under that name. This idea was accepted by Pouncey and Gere who argued that the drawing reflected the influence of northern prints on Polidoro. Konrad Oberhuber in his 1963 review of the BM Raphael catalogue doubted that the drawing was by Polidoro, noting that there were other landscape studies by the same hand and which he believed to be the work of a northern artist. Jap Bolten in his 1970 article included the BM drawing as the work of a certain Messer Ulisse Severino da Cingoli whose name is inscribed on one of the sheets in a sketchbook of landscape drawing in the Biblioteca Communale, Jesi (Bolten pl. 1). The 1989 exhibition established that the artist responsible for the corpus gathered by Bolten was not Messer Ulisse Severino da Cingoli but Gherardo Cibo, a Genoese aristocrat who travelled to northern Europe in the late 1530s and then settled in the Rocca Contrada in the Marches. The confusion arose with his identity because the Jesi album was sent by Cibo to Messer Ulisse. Cibo's authorship of the drawings is proven both by his handwritten inscriptions visible on many of the sheets, and the similarity of the landscape backgrounds he added to some of the engravings in the botanical works in his library.
Lit.: M. Bénard, 'Cabinet de M. Paignon Dijonval', Paris, 1810, under no. 787, p. 42 (as Polidoro); 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. 35, no. 2, pl. XXV (as Polidoro); P.Pouncey and J.A. Gere, 'Italian drawings in the BM, Raphael and his circle', London, 1962, I, no. 211, II, pl. 179, as Polidoro (with previous literature); J.A. Gere, 'A Landscape Drawing by Polidoro da Caravaggio', "Master Drawings", I, 1, 1963, pp. 43-5; K. Oberhuber, review of Pouncey and Gere, "Master Drawings", I, 3, 1963, pp. 52 and 54, notes 28-32; J. Bolten, 'Messer Ulisse Severino da Cingoli, a bypath in the history of art', "Master Drawings", VII, 2, Summer 1970, pp. 124 and 141, no. 96, pl. 14a (as Ulisse Severino da Cingoli); A. Marabottini, 'Polidoro da Caravaggio', Rome, 1969, I, no. 81, II, pl. XCII, 1 (as Polidoro); C. Monbeig Goguel, 'Il disegno italiano nel Cinquecento' in G. Briganti (ed.), 'La pittura in Italia - il Cinquecento', Venice, 1988, II, pl. 907, p. 605 (as Polidoro); A. Nesselrath et al, in exhib. cat., Comune di San Severino Marche, Centro Studi Salimbeni per le Arti Figurative, 'Gherardo Cibo, alias Ulisse Severino da Cingoli', 1989, p. 32, fig. 16 (as Cibo)
Pouncey & Gere 1962
Attributed to Polidoro in the Paignon-Dijonval and Lawrence Catalogues. At first glance the high viewpoint and fantastic landscape with pierced rocks are suggestive of some Northerner working in the Patinir tradition. Polidoro was, however, one of the Italian artists of his period most susceptible to northern influence, and not only was he interested in landscape - "Polidoro veramente lavorò i paesi e macchie d'alberi e sassi meglio d'ogni pittore" (Vasari, v, p. 147) - but his two fresco landscapes in S. Silvestro al Quirinale show a considerable degree of fantasy.* There is nothing inherently improbable, therefore, in his having attempted a composition of this kind. The handling of the foreground foliage and of the figures is characteristic of him, and fully supports the attribution which no doubt derives from an early tradition.
Literature: M. Bénard, Cabinet de M. Paignon-Dijonval, Paris, 1810, no. 787; Lawrence Gallery, Seventh Exhibition, 1836, no. 40; Popham, Fenwick, p. 35, no. 2.
* In addition to 1905,1110.48 there are two landscape-drawings in the Uffizi (see A. Châtelet, 'Burlington', xcvi (1954), pp. 181 f.). Another drawing of a fantastic landscape with ruins and temples, seen from the same high viewpoint and with something of the same northern flavour as 1946,0713.460, is in the Louvre (RF 1870-61 ; Tietzes 2130, repr.). The Tietzes are inclined to attribute this to a contemporary of Veronese such as Brusasorci, but it is surely by Polidoro: in proportions and style the buildings resemble those represented in the Berlin sketch-book (repr. 'Prussian Jahrbuch', xli (1920), p. 351 and opp. p. 346).
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1962/3 Nov-Sep, BM, Raphael and his Circle (P+G)
1972, BM, 'The Art of Drawing', no.187
1984, BM, Landscape in Italy, no.19a
2016-17, Oct-Jan, Suzhou, 'Italian Renaissance Drawings', no. 39
2019 11 Apr-30 Jun, Macau Museum of Art, Macau, 'Italian Renaissance Drawings'
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Crozat? no.8.
Samuel Woodburn bought Morel de Vindé's collection (grandson of Paignon- Dijonval) en bloc in 1819
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number