- Museum number
A study for a pendentive with St Matthew and St Jerome
Verso: Two studies of Cupid bound to a tree
Red chalk, with pen and brown ink
- Production date
Height: 197 millimetres
Width: 154 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- In 1520 Correggio was commissioned to fresco the dome, apse, choir and the frieze above the nave of the newly constructed Benedictine church of San Giovanni Evangelista, Parma. The artist worked on the project for the next four years with the final payment dated January 1524. The present drawing relates to the pendentives or squinches (the curved triangular upper section of the piers supporting the dome) which were decorated with evangelists paired with appropriate Doctor of the Church - in the present example Jerome is with Matthew because of his celebrated commentary on the latter's gospel. The two figures appear on the south-east pendentive (Gould pl. 72), and seven studies for the fresco are known (Di Giampaolo and Muzzi nos. 22-6, 85 verso and a further study in the J.Paul Getty Museum whose connection with the pendentive is less certain, see BM and Met exhib. cat. no. 13). The BM drawing follows closely on from the study in the National Gallery of Art, Washington (Di Giampaolo and Muzzi no. 85 verso), and both were probably drawn at the intial stages of the artist's work on the pendentive as they differ in a number of respects from the completed work.
The drawing on the verso of a bound Cupid is not related to any painted work although Ekserdjian plausibly suggested that the subject would have been a suitable pendant to his painting of the 'School of Love' in the National Gallery, London. As Popham first noted Cupid's pose resembles, in reverse, that of Saint Sebastian in the background of the 'Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine' (Louvre, Paris; Ekserdjian fig. 167). The Louvre painting most probably post-dates Correggio's work in San Giovanni Evangelista by a couple of years; such recycling of a figure study is not uncommon in the Renaissance, and there are other examples of Correggio doing so (cf. BM study 5210-24; Popham, 1967, no. 14). The width measurement of the drawing given by Popham in his 1957 book and in the BM catalogue (repeated in all subsequent publications) is wrong.
Watermark: a cardinal's hat.
Lit: A.E. Popham, 'Correggio's Drawings', London, 1957, p. 41, no. 18, pp. 152-3, pls. XX-XXI; A.E. Popham, 'Italian Drawings in the BM, artists working in Parma', London, 1967, no. 6, p. 4, pls. 4-5; C. Gould, 'Correggio', London, 1976, pp. 62, 124, 251, pls. 74C and 178C; M. Di Giampaolo and A. Muzzi, 'Correggio i disegni', Turin, 1988, no. 22; D. Ekserdjian, 'Correggio', New Haven and London, 1997, pp. 150, 274 fig. 168; H. Chapman, in exhib. cat., BM and New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 'Correggio and Parmigianino', 2000-2001, no. 14
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1953, London, Royal Academy of Arts, 'Drawings by Old Masters', no. 63
1977 May-Jun, Hermitage, 'Italian Renaissance', no. 24
1977 Jul-Aug, Moscow, Pushkin Museum, 'Italian Renaissance', no. 24
1980, Adelaide and Melbourne, no. 14
2000/1 Oct-Jan, BM, Drawings by Correggio and Parmigianino, no.14
2001 Feb-May, New York, Met Mus of Art, Drawings by Correggio and Parmigianino, no.14
2003/4 Dec-April, BM, NACF exhibition
2008/9 Sep-Jan, Parma, Galleria Nazionale, Correggio
2016 Mar-Jun, Rome, Scuderie del Quirinale, 'Correggio e Parmigianino'
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- See Popham's report to the Trustees 9 November 1953. The sale was unexpected, as Popham had been given to understand that Reitlinger's collection would be permanently kept together at his museum in Maidenhead. He was authorised to spend up to £1,500 from the BM Reserve, and a further £700 was offered by the NACF. Hence two drawings were regarded as having been presented by them, and the rest came from Reserve.
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