- Museum number
Numa Pompilius, surrounded by figures, presenting the laws to Minerva
- Production date
Height: 319 millimetres
Width: 257 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Lit.: N. Turner, 'Italian Drawings in the BM, Roman Baroque Drawings', London, 1999, I, no. 195
A number of drawings of this subject by Maratti or his school are known, though it is by no means certain that they are all by the same hand or, indeed, for the same composition. One is in the Louvre (inv.no. 3405); two are in the Istituto Nazionale per la Grafica, Rome (inv. nos 127335 recto and verso and 127338; Mezzetti, 1963, pp. 292-4); a fourth is in the Academia de San Fernando, Madrid (inv. no. 962 recto and verso; Mena, 1975, II, no. 895); and a fifth is in the Resta album in the Ambrosiana, Milan (Bora, 1976, no. 248). Copies after two more (?) lost studies are in the Kunstmuseum, Düsseldorf (inv. nos FP 9916 and FP 9888; Harris and Schaar, 1967, nos 712-13), while a copy by Passeri of the Milan drawing is in the same collection (inv. no. FP 2593; Harris and Schaar, 1967, no. 714). The Louvre and Milan drawings, which are evidently by the same artist, show the composition at its most complete.
The British Museum drawing shows a slightly different composition from that of most of the drawings just listed. The goddess Egeria, who appears in the background in most of the other versions of the subject, is lacking, and the allegorical figure of Rome surrounded by the Pontifex Maximus and lictors appears instead; Numa Pompilius himself is seated, not in a rocky glade as in the Louvre and Milan drawings, but on a throne and in a city setting. It seems likely, therefore, that the British Museum drawing could be by a different hand from that responsible for the others. Manuela Mena Marques has suggested that the artist may be Andrea Procaccini (q.v.), to whom some of the other drawings in the group are given.
The "F" mark written in pen in the lower left of the drawing is found on some of the Maratti and Maratti school drawings at Chatsworth, Derbys, and on a good number of those in the Academia de San Fernando. Its purpose and significance remain obscure, but it seems that it is only to be found on drawings that had passed into the possession of Maratti's daughter Faustina, who, according to Jaffé, sold them on 27 March 1720 (Pittsburgh, Cleveland and elsewhere, 1987-8, no. 47; Jaffé, 1994(b), pp.15 and 138, under no. 260). Some of the Academia de San Fernando and Chatsworth Maratti drawings are known to have come from this source.
Numa Pompilius, second king of Rome, was a wise and peace-loving ruler who gave the Romans their legal and judicial system (Livy, 'History of Rome', I, 18-22). The nymph Egeria was his wife and adviser.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Unidentified collector, probably Italian, "F" inscribed in brown ink lower left (See Inscription).
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