- Museum number
A High Priest, looking down, his right arm outstretched (? study for Simeon for a Presentation of the Virgin)
Black chalk, pen and brown, brown wash, heightened with white, partly squared in black chalk, on grey-brown (formerly blue) paper
- Production date
- 1575-1596 (circa)
Height: 405 millimetres
Width: 208 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- The accuracy of old (17th-century?) attribution to Peterzano written in pen in the lower right corner, 'Simo[ne] Veneziano', is vouched by the drawing's stylistic and technical similarities to studies firmly connected to paintings, such as the two pen and wash studies in the Castello Sforzesco for the 'Pentecost' of c. 1580 in Sant'Eufemia, Milan, see F. Rossi (ed.), in exhib. cat., Milan, Castello Sforzesco, 'Simone Peterzano e i disegni del Castello Sforzesco', nos. 27-8, pp. 106-7, the related painting illustrated on p. 105. A study of a kneeling figure in the J.F. Willumsen Museum in Denmark (illustrated on p. 55 of the Milan catalogue) is another good comparison for the present work in its painterly combination of pen, wash and white highlights with the brush and wash utilised as much as the pen in defining the figure's contours. The BM drawing was acquired without a secure connection to a painting, but Giovanni Agosti in an email in March 2020 pointed out that it is preparatory for the High Priest in his altarpiece of the 'Presentation of the Virgin' in the church of Santi Antonio Abate e Francesca Saverio Cabrini in Sant'Angelo Lodigiano. The finished figure follows closely the study except that his bent right leg is made less prominent. The figure's costume and pose is comparable to the High Priest in the background of 'Christ expelling the money changers from the Temple' painted in fresco in 1572-3 in S. Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore, Milan.
Peterzano was born in Bergamo rather than Venice, but his identification as Venetian came through his association with Titian that led to him signing himself as his pupil. His drawings in their attention to lighting and tone, plus the use of coloured paper, certainly recall Venetian examples such as Palma Giovane who frequently combined wash and white heightening.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2014, 7 May-11 June, G90 display (no cat),'Recent Italian drawing acquisitions'
2019 Feb-Apr, BM G90a, '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.
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number