- Museum number
Study for a statue of St Matthew; whole-length, standing to front, looking round to right, his left hand raised
- Production date
- 1703 (circa)
Height: 289 millimetres
Width: 160 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- A more finished pen and wash drawing for Rusconi's 'St John the Evangelist' in the same series as the present one was bequeathed to the BM by Ralph Holland, 2013,7017.7.
Lit.: N. Turner, 'Italian Drawings in the BM, Roman Baroque Drawings', London, 1999, I, no. 193
This appears to be connected with the statue of 'St Matthew' by Camillo Rusconi in S. Giovanni in Laterano in Rome, datable 1715, one of the series of 'Apostles' in niches that decorate the nave of the basilica (Enggass, 1976, II, figs 60-63). In 1699 Cardinal Benedetto Pamphilj was named Archpriest of the basilica and soon thereafter resolved to finish the re-modelling of the nave, which had been scheduled for completion by Borromini in 1650, but which had foundered through lack of funds. Shortly after March 1703, Maratti was commissioned by Pope Clement XI to provide designs for the 12 statues, which were to be executed by various sculptors, and the task of filling Borromini's niches was assessed by the architect Carlo Fontana (Enggass, 1976, I, pp.21 and 99ff.). The drawing differs substantially from the finished sculpture but must nevertheless be related to it on account of the plinth which appears beneath the saint's feet. It is part of a series of studies for the statues that the elderly Maratti himself drew or directed members of his studio to carry out to his design.
Two drawings in the Academia de San Fernando for the statue of 'St Matthew' (Mena, 1975, II, nos 271-2) are both more rapidly drawn than the British Museum sheet. One (Mena, 1975, II, no. 272), in red chalk with touches of pen and brown ink, contains two attempts at the figure, one above the other. The upper and more important of the two studies shows the apostle close in form to his counterpart in the British Museum drawing, with the difference that he raises his right arm and holds the drapery at his side with the left. In all three versions of the figure in the two Madrid drawings, the apostle's cloak falls in front of his body instead of behind. (Harder to interpret from the point of view of authorship, though their association with the 'St Matthew' statue in the Lateran is clear enough, are further Marattesque drawings in the Academia de San Fernando; see Mena, 1975, II, pp. 718-19.)
Another drawing for the 'St Matthew', much closer to Rusconi's sculpture but in reverse, is in the Royal Library, Windsor Castle (inv.no. 4168; Blunt and Cooke, 1960, cat.no. 737, as Rusconi, but accepted as Maratti in Schilling and Blunt, 1971, p. 98, under cat.no. 292). The function of two further drawings of St Matthew by Maratti (one in the Hessisches Landesmuseum, Darmstadt, inv.no.AE 1691, and the other, catalogued as Luca Giordano, according to the mount for the reproduction of the drawing in the Witt Library, London, sold at Férault, Paris, 1929, lot 28) is less easy to determine. Since they lack any sign of a plinth or any very striking correspondence with the sculpture in terms of pose, they could equally relate to a painting of the saint by Maratti in the Galleria Nazionale, Rome, dating from between 1689 and 1695, as (according to Schaar) does a drapery study in the Kunstmuseum, Düsseldorf (inv. no. FP 13906; Harris and Schaar, 1967, no. 320).
Several studies by Maratti for other apostles in the same sculptural series are extant and can be compared to the present drawing (particularly in respect of the plinths on which the figures rest). For 'St John the Evangelist' there are figure studies in the Kunstmuseum, Düsseldorf (inv. no. FP 3148; Harris and Schaar, 1967, no. 423; the Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin (inv.no.Kdz 16380; Berlin, 1969, no. 130); and in the collection of Ralph Holland (Vitzthum, 1968, p. 363, fig. 58). For the 'St Peter', there is a sketch, also in Düsseldorf (inv.no. FP 1283; Harris and Schaar, 1967, no.458). For the 'St Simon', there are studies in the Louvre (inv.no. 3403; Paris, 1990-91, no. 31) and at Düsseldorf (inv. nos FP 1283 and FP 6552; Harris and Schaar, 1967, nos 458-9; Paris, 1990-91, under no. 31).
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- One of ninety drawings from the Cavendish album; see 1952,0121.75 for a full account of provenance.
From an album, known as the Cavendish Album, in which several drawings bear the mark of N. A. Flinck (L 959), whose collection was bought in 1723 by the 2nd Duke of Devonshire. Three of the drawings in the album were engraved by Pond with the inscription "E Museo Praehonlis Dni Dni Jacobi Cavendish". One of these engravings is dated 1734, a year in which two Lords James Cavendish were alive, the third son of the 1st Duke (d. 1751) and the second son of the 2nd Duke (d. 1741). It seems probable that the latter was the collector. There is reason to believe that the album was until about 1950 in the library of Lord Chesham, also a member of the Cavendish family. The Lord James Cavendish in question was a great-uncle of the 1st Lord Chesham.
A summary of the contents and provenance of the Cavendish Album, derived from notes by Popham at the British Museum and other more recent information written on the mounts of the drawings themselves, is given by Jaffé (1994 (a) and (b), p. 18).
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number