- Museum number
The Visitation; St Anne greeting the Virgin with with the figure of a young woman on the right and St Joachim in a turban on steps above r, St Joseph wearing a wide-brimmed hat below l. c.1593
Pen and brown ink, brown wash, heightened with white, over black chalk, on grey (formerly blue) paper
Verso: Study of drapery
- Production date
Height: 238 millimetres
Width: 384 millimetres (sight)
- Curator's comments
- Acquired as an anonymous Roman XVIc drawing, this is a study for Felice Damiani's altarpiece dated 1594 in the chapel of the Visitation in the Santuario della Madonna dei Lumi in Sanseverino in the Marches, P dal Poggetto (ed.), 'Le Arti nelle Marche al tempo di Sisto V', Milan, 1992, pp. 161-5, the painting illustrated p. 163. The church was built on the site of a miraculous light that illuminated a votive image of the Virgin on the night of 16-17th January 1584. Around this sacred image the church was constructed between 1586-9, and Damiani worked on the decoration of the first two chapels added to the church, both of them to the left of the entrance (hence the lighting from the left in both altarpieces). Damiani's decoration of the Visitation chapel was commissioned by Lorenzo Lauri on 28 December 1593. A portrait of the patron, as specified in the contract, appears in the left background of the altarpiece. The painting follows the present drawing closely, differing only in minor details such as the sack added under the arm of the peasant woman on the right.
There is an earlier study for the same painting in the National Gallery, Prague, M. Zlatohlavek (ed.), exh. cat. Prague, Kinsky Palace, 'Italian Renaissance Art from Czech Collections', 1997, no. XLV, pp. 244-7 as Taddeo Zuccaro. This is a much freer and more experimental drawing in pen and brown ink, brown wash and excludes the figure of the patron. The attribution to Zuccaro is understandable as Damiani's style as a painter and draughtsman was much influenced by the work executed in the Marches by Roman artists such as Federico Zuccaro and Cesare Nebbia. Damiani's rather provincial interpretation of the Roman Counter-Reformation style is well known from his many painted commissions in Umbria and the Marches, but prior to the discovery of the two studies for the Visitation he was unknown as a draughtsman. Denis Morganti has recently added five drawings related to paintings by Damiani in his 2013 "Paragone" article.
Lit.: H. Chapman, 'Two Drawings by Felice Damiani', "Apollo", March 2001, pp. 24-5; D. Morganti, 'Su Felice Damiani disegnatore', "Paragone", 109-110, 2013, p. 10
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2001 May-Sep BM, P&D, 'Paper Assets' (no cat.)
2019 Feb-Apr BM, P&D, 'Ottley Group' (no cat.)
- 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 inscribed on the verso by previous owners as 'School of North Italy late 16th C' and with the name 'C.H. Mann Kings'. The frame label was 'W. Heffer & Sons, Ltd., The Heffer Gallery, 18 & 19 Sidney Street, Cambridge' (all kept in dossier).
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number