- Museum number
Two saints, whole-length standing to left, one holding a crozier and an open book, after Bellini
Brush and black wash, heightened with white, on blue prepared paper, retouched with cream and white bodycolour by Rubens
- Production date
- 1620-1630 (circa (Rubens' over-drawing))
Height: 280 millimetres
Width: 140 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- These two saints correspond to the figures of S. Benedict and his companion in the right wing of Bellini's triptych of 1488 in Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, Venice (Goffen 1989, fig. 116). The drawing was most likely an old copy after Bellini's figures which Rubens purchased in Italy and then drew over with white bodycolour. The figures have been so heavily reworked in white heightening by Rubens that it is hard to know the status of the black and brush wash drawing that preceded his intervention, or to make any proposals as to whom the original copyist may have been. Jeremy Wood dates this intervention to the 1620s.
The drawing was acquired by Mariette who added the inscription to his signature gold and blue mount ‘JOAN. BELIN DELIN. P.P. RUBENS RESTITUIT’. Another drawing in the Museum, attributed by Mariette to Bellini and obviously regarded by him as a pendant (it is actually a copy after Bartolomeo Montagna), Pp,1.21, includes the figure of S. John the Baptist. It is probable that the two sheets formed part of lot 186 in Mariette's sale of 1775, where mention is made of "deux autres études aussi de figures en pied, dont celle de St. Jean, &c." The note appended to the description in the catalogue includes this statement: "ces Dessins ont passé dans les Collections du Vasari, Jaback & Crozat." But there is no mention on the mounts of either of our drawings that they came from Vasari's collection, and Mariette was usually careful to give such information. Nor is there any record, so far as we know, of any drawings from Vasari's 'Libro' having been dispersed as early as the time of Rubens. One of the two other drawings in the lot, a sheet drawn on both sides with five figures, is now in the Ashmolean Museum (Tietzes, no. 649). It is by Carpaccio and has Vasari's mount and his own attribution to Giovanni Bellini. The fourth sheet is another drawing by Carpaccio in the Albertina (Catalogue, i, no. 20; Tietzes, no. 637), which was also in Vasari's collection.
Lit.: J.D. Passavant, 'Tour of a German Artist in England', London, 1836, (translation from the original German ed. published in Frankfurt, 1833), II, p. 104 (as Bellini retouched by Rubens); H. Tietze and E. Tietze-Conrat, 'The Drawings of the Venetian Painters in the 15th and 16th Centuries', New York, 1944, no. 344, pl. XXXIV, 3 (as School of Giovanni Bellini); A.E. Popham and P. Pouncey, 'Italian drawings in the BM, the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries', London, 1950, I, no. 20, II, pl. XVII (with previous literature); L. Ragghianti Collobi, 'Il Libro de'Disegni del Vasari', Florence, 1974, I, p. 71; M. Jaffé, 'Rubens and Italy, Oxford, 1977, p. 42; J. Rowlands, 'Rubens: Drawings & Sketches', exhibition catalogue, London, British Museum, 1977, no.45; M. Clarke and N. Penny, in exhib. cat., Manchester, Whitworth Art Gallery , 'The arrogant connoisseur: Richard Payne Knight 1751-1824', 1982, no. 166; R. Goffen, 'Giovanni Bellini', New Haven and London, fig. 116; J. Wood, in exhib. cat., Edinburgh, National Gallery of Scotland and Nottingham, Djanogly Art Gallery, 'Rubens and Italian Art', 2002, no. 3 (with further literature); B. Py, 'Everhard Jabach Collectionneur (1618-1695), Les Dessins de Inventaire de 1695', Paris, 2001, Appendix B, p. 313
Entry from J. Rowlands, 'Rubens: Drawings & Sketches', exhibition catalogue, London, British Museum, 1977:
This is most probably an early copy of the figures on the right-hand wing of Bellini's triptych of 1488 in the Frari church, Venice. It is very likely, as Mariette proposes in the inscription on the mount, that Rubens was responsible for the reworking of this drawing. This is so extensive that it is difficult to make out the character of the original drawing beneath.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1977 BM, Rubens Drawings and Sketches, no. 45
1982 Jan-Apr, Whitworth AG, 'Payne Knight', no. 166
2002 June-Sep, Edinburgh, NG Scotland, 'Rubens and Italian Art'
2002 Sep-Dec, Nottingham, Djanogly Art Gall, 'Rubens and Italian Art'
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Inscribed on back of mount by Abbé Gersaint.
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number