- Museum number
Design for a monument to Cardinal Francesco Gonzaga; the portrait within an oval frame, with two putti holding flaming torches on either side of a tablet inscribed: "MDLXVI" below, the whole within a fluted border
Pen and brown ink, with brown-grey wash, over black chalk
- Production date
Height: 345 millimetres
Width: 223 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- A project for a wall monument commemorating Cardinal Francesco Gonzaga (1537-1566), son of Ferrante Gonzaga and cousin of Guglielmo, Duke of Mantua. The Cardinal was buried in Rome in his titular church of San Lorenzo in Lucina, but he was also Bishop of Mantua and there could well have been some intention of commemorating him there. The attribution to Costa was first suggested by Sergio Marinelli.
Lit: J.A. Gere and P. Pouncey, 'Italian drawings in the BM, Artists working in Rome', London, 1983, no. 367; S. Marinelli, 'Manierismo a Mantova, la pittura da Giulio Romano all'età di Rubens', Milan, 1999, p. 85, fig. 14
Gere & Pouncey 1983
In Christie's sale as "Zuccaro". On entering the Museum mistakenly attributed to Raffaellino da Reggio on the strength of its connection with 1900,0824.123 (q.v.), a larger and more elaborate project for a monument to the same ecclesiastic, embodying an identical oval portrait. The combination in 1948,0410.329 of the Gonzaga coat-of-arms and the date M.DLXVI inscribed in black chalk in the space intended for the epitaph identifies the ecclesiastic as Cardinal Francesco Gonzaga (b. 1537, cr. 1560, d. 1566).
It now seems to us that in conception this design is entirely unlike 1900,0824.123, and that the latter, though a product of the Zuccaro circle, has nothing to do with Raffaellino. The poses and proportions of the two child-angels holding torches in 1948,0410.329 have an unmistakable flavour of Giulio Romano. The cardinal was buried in Rome in his titular church of S. Lorenzo in Lucina, but he was also Bishop of Mantua and there could well have been some intention of commemorating him there. The facial types of the angels and the combination of wiry calligraphy with a soft wash are paralleled in drawings in the Louvre (e.g. 6040, 6041, 6042) traditionally attributed to Giulio's Mantuan follower, Ippolito Andreasi (c. 1548-1608).
The perspective of the oval cartouches on either side of the centre panel shows that the monument was to have been concave in section, with the centre panel on a lower level than the outside of the frame. The difference in level, and the apparent height of the relief, suggest a wall-monument rather than a floor-slab.
Literature: Gere, Uffizi Exh., 1966, under no. 83.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1981/2 Nov-Jan, V&A, 'Splendours of the Gonzaga', no. 221
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- This item has an uncertain or incomplete provenance for the years 1933-45. The British Museum welcomes information and assistance in the investigation and clarification of the provenance of all works during that era.
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number