- Museum number
Religion, assisted by the Virtues, pointing to the portrait of Vittorio Amedeo II, Duke of Savoy, study for an engraving; putti holding a canvas above, columns behind
Brush drawing in grey wash, over black chalk
- Production date
Height: 190 millimetres
Width: 221 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Entry from Nicholas Turner, 'Italian Drawings in the BM, Roman Baroque Drawings', London, 1999, I, no. 269:
According to the writer of the inscription, whose identity remains unknown, the drawing was sent from Rome by Francesco Maria Guelfi (1659-1744), a member of the novitiate of S.Andrea al Quirinale, who, like Andrea Pozzo himself, was a Jesuit (see Kerber, 1971, pp. 39-40). It is an early preparatory study, in reverse and with minor differences, for the print engraved to a larger scale by Georges Tasnière (d. 1704), a French engraver who worked extensively for the House of Savoy. A much-damaged impression is in the Biblioteca Reale, Turin, and measures 400x495mm (Turin, 1989, no.34); the pedestal on the right of the print is inscribed: "VICTORI/ AMEDEO. II./ SAB.AE DUCI CIPRI/ REGI/ ABBAS FRANCUS/ GONTERIUS/ EIUSD. REG. CELSITUD./ ELEMOSINARIUS".
The finished composition shows Painting, accompanied by a putto or genius, at work on a portrait of the young Duke Vittorio Amedeo II (1666-1732), whose likeness she takes from that of his ancestor, the Blessed Amedeo IX, Duke of Savoy, who died in 1472. Watching Painting from nearby are Faith, Hope and Charity, with Justice, Fortitude and Prudence a little in the distance. Among the principal differences between drawing and print are the appearance in the latter of two putti in the lower left (corresponding in position to the empty space in the lower right of the drawing) holding a tablet containing the coat of arms of Francesco Gonteri, who had commissioned the print; and of a further female allegory, lower right.
As Giuseppe Dardanello has observed (Turin, 1989, p. 33), the print is a thinly veiled piece of flattery of the then regent Maria Giovanna Battista of Savoy, the young Duke's mother, who features as Religion in the composition. Indeed, the 'Allegory' alludes to her government's cultivation of the arts and literature as well as her promotion of her family's interests. Vittorio Amedeo II was only nine years old when, on 12 June 1675, he succeeded to the duchy at the death of his father Carlo Emmanuele II. Maria Giovanna Battista's regency was characterised by a detestation of France and a desire to encourage in her son the pursuit of pleasure so that she might extend her own power at his expense. He eventually resisted this strategy and in due course took on the government of his own lands himself, becoming King of Sicily and Sardinia in 1713 and 1720, respectively.
The date "1688" on the inscription may not necessarily indicate the date of the drawing itself.
Literature: Kerber, 1971, pp. 39-40, fig.22; Turin 1989, p.33, under no.34.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Unidentified collector's mark in black ink, on verso: (?)'CV' (not in Lugt)
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: A,17.14