- Museum number
The Jesuit Cardinal Roberto Bellarmino seated holding a book and quill pen, a crucifix and a biretta on the table.
Pen and brown ink, brown wash, over black chalk, with lines indented.
- Production date
- 1678 (circa)
Height: 171 millimetres
Width: 116 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- The indented outlines suggest that this is a design for an engraving. Nicholas Turner places this is in Bernini's circle, not far from Giovanni Battista Gaulli. Eric Pagliano has noted (letter 2/6/06) that there is a related drawing in Lyon (1962-654). The Lyon drawing looks to be a preparatory study for the present one as it much looser in handling and has a number of differences, such as in the form of the chair and the table. Hugh Hudson identified the sitter as the Jesuit Roberto Bellarmino (1542-1621) and located the related engraving by an anonymous printmaker, in the reverse sense to the drawing, used as the frontispiece of Daniello Bartoli's 1678 biography of the cardinal (his fig. 6). On stylistic grounds Hudson convincingly argues that the drawing is by Gaulli, along with the earlier Lyon one (his fig. 4). An even earlier stage in the preparation of the print is a drawing in the Kunsthalle, Hamburg (Hudson 2009, fig. 5), which if not by Gaulli is a copy after an early study for the engraving.
Lit.: N. Turner, 'Italian Drawings in the BM, Roman Baroque Drawings', London, 1999, I, no. 335; E. Pagliano, in exhib. cat., Lyon, Musée des Beaux-arts de Lyon, 'Desseins italiens. Collection du Musée des Beaux-arts de Lyon', 2008, under no.50, fig. 50.1; H. Hudson, 'Giovanni Battista Gaulli: remaking the image of a cardinal saint in seventeenth-century Rome', "Master Drawings", 47, Spring 2009, pp. 70-78, fig. 1
As the indented outlines indicate, the drawing was probably a design for an engraving, though we have been unable to identify such a print. The drawing was formerly placed as anonymous eighteenth century, amongst the unmounted figure studies and portraits, though the style seems to be that of Bernini's circle, and is not far from Giovanni Battista Gaulli (q.v.).
- Not on display
- 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.
Not known how acquired.
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number