- Museum number
The baptism of Christ; with two figures at l, St John the Baptist at r, and the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove above
Pen and brown ink, with lines indented
Verso: Studies of men, and a horse and rider
Pen and brown ink
- Production date
Height: 369 millimetres
Width: 227 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Quintavalle's suggestion that the drawing was made for an engraving is complicated by the lack of any evidence of Bertoja's involvement with printmakers, notwithstanding the example of Parmigianino. For Ekserdjian the design was more likely conceived with a picture or fresco in mind. Christ's pose may have been inspired by Michelangelo's Risen Christ in Santa Maria sopra Minerva; the head on the verso, meanwhile, may have been informed by his portrayal of Giuliano de' Medici in the New Sacristy. Cropped studies around the edges of the verso reveal the extent to which the sheet has been cut to the margins of the recto Baptism.
Watermark: encircled pilgrim. Lit.: Diane De Grazia, 'Bertoia, Mirola and the Farnese Court', 1991, pp.117-118 [D 28]; H. Chappell, "On the identification of a collector's mark", 'Master Drawings', Spring 1983, XXI, I, pp.36-38; D. Ekserdjian, in 'La Maniera Emiliana: Bertoja, Mirola, da Parma alle corti d'Europa', exh. cat., Labirinto della Masone, Fontanellato, 2019, pp. 155-6, no. 42.
As "Girolamo Mutiano" in the Payne Knight Inventory of 1845, an attribution no doubt based on a misunderstanding of the name 'Girolamo Minuoli' (for Miruoli, i.e. Mirola) under which the drawing appeared in the 1837 inventory. If, as seems probable, Pp,2.182 is the drawing described in the Coccapani inventory, it was given to Bertoja at least as early as 1640. Nevertheless, the attribution to Miruoli in the Ottley Sale Catalogue is puzzling. The drawing on the recto is undoubtedly by the same hand as the study in the Ashmolean Museum (Parker, no. 115; Quintavalle, 'Bertoja', fig. 15) for a fresco at Caprarola where Bertoja, but not Mirola, is known to have worked.
In her book on Anselmi Signora Quintavalle included Pp,2.182 among "opere apocrife o incerte" with the comment (for which there seems to be no basis in fact) that the recto composition is "certainly" derived from Anselmi's 'Baptism of Christ' in S. Prospero, Reggio Emilia. Subsequently she accepted the attribution to Bertoja. Her description of the recto as a design for an engraving was no doubt suggested by the indented outlines. No engraving of this composition is known.
The fragmentary drawing of a fallen rider on the verso may be compared with similar figures on the ceiling of the Sala del Bacio in the Palazzo del Giardino in Parma (Quintavalle, 'Bertoja', fig. 46; repr. better, 'Proporzioni', iii (1950), pls. cxcii-cxciv), though it cannot be claimed beyond doubt as a study for any part of this fresco.
Literature: Quintavalle, Anselmi, p. 127; the same, Bertoja, p. 54.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2019 Mar-May, Italy, Fontanellato, Labirinto della Masone, Bertoja-Mirola
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Popham 1967
Possibly owned by Paolo Coccapani, Bishop of Reggio ?. "Il Battesimo di S. Gio. Battista di penna di Giacomo Bertoia, e nel rovescio figure a cavallo" occurs in Coccapani's inventory, printed by G. Campori, Raccolta di Cataloghi. . . , Modena, 1870, p. 156.
Part of a large circular collector's mark, possibly L. 112, on verso - Alfonso III d'Esté?
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number