- Museum number
A seated goddess and a standing god
Verso: The lower part of a female figure
- Production date
- 1516-1519 (circa)
Height: 149 millimetres
Width: 104 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- The drawing was sold as Correggio in the 1860 Woodburn sale where the subject was given as Cupid and Psyche. Popham suggested that the two figures are Apollo and Diana who are paired together in engravings by Dürer and Jacopo de'Barbari. In both prints the goddess is accompanied by a deer, and this may have been the case here before the drawing was trimmed on the left side. The drawing has the appearance of having been rapidly executed with the head of the goddess studied in three different positions, and the feet of the standing figure left unfinished. Ekserdjian noted that the pose of the latter is loosely based on that of a man reaching up for a wreath in Mantegna's engraving of the 'Bacchanal with a Wine-Vat' (detail illustrated Ekserdjian fig. 274, p. 268), the resemblance is fairly generic but it is not unexpected that Correggio should refer to prints by his putative master. The dating of the drawing has varied, although it is generally believed to be from the early part of Correggio's career. Oberhuber suggested that the studies of legs on the verso might be related to one of the putti beneath the Virgin's throne in the Dresden 'Madonna of Saint Francis' of 1514-15, but they do not relate very closely and in addition the drawn figure is female, not male. Popham likened the handling to another early study now in the Louvre (Di Giampaolo and Muzzi, no. 4), while at the same time observing that the pose of the goddess recalled that of Venus in the National Gallery 'Education of Cupid' of 1524-5 (this slightly more advanced dating was accepted by Di Giampaolo and Muzzi). In favour of a slightly earlier dating c. 1516-19 is the similarity in handling to the BM studies for the Camera di San Paolo of c. 1518-19 (Di Giampaolo and Muzzi nos. 8 and 9; Popham BM cat, 1967, nos. 4 and 5), and the observation made by Ekeserdjian that the pose of the seated soldier in the background of the 'Adoration of the Magi' (Brera, Milan) of around 1517 is close to that of the seated goddess in the present study.
Lit: A.E. Popham, 'Correggio's Drawings', London, 1957, no. 4*, p. 168, pl. CX; A.E. Popham, 'Italian Drawings in the BM, artists working in Parma', London, 1967, no. 2, p. 2, pl. 2B; K. Oberhuber, review of BM cat. in "Master Drawings", VIII, Autumn 1970, p. 277, pl. 29b; C. Gould, 'Correggio', London, 1976, p. 124; D. Degrazia, in exhib. cat. Washington, National Gallery of Art and Parma, Galleria Nazionale, 'Correggio and His Legacy', 1984, no. 6, p. 78; M Di Giampaolo and A. Muzzi, 'Correggio i disegni', Turin, 1988, no. 10; D. Ekserdjian, 'Correggio', New Haven and London, 1997, p. 266, fig. 273; H. Chapman, in exhib. cat., BM and New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 'Correggio and Parmigianino', 2000-2001, no. 4
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1984 Mar-July Washington and Parma, 'Correggio', no. 6
1994 Feb-May, Vienna, Gemaldegalerie, 'Isabella d'Este' no. 143
2000-1 Oct-Jan, BM, 'Drawings by Correggio and Parmigianino', no. 4
2001 Feb-May, New York, Met Mus of Art, 'Drawings by Correggio and Parmigianino', no.4
- 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.
The drawing was presented to the BM by the NACF, which paid the entire cost.
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number