- Museum number
Assumption of the Virgin, design for an oval cupola; the Virgin standing on clouds with arms out, encircled by the heads of many putti, supported by angels below, oval
Pen and brown ink, with brown wash, heightened with white, on light brown prepared paper
Verso: A nude foreshortened figure on clouds and a seated man
Pen and brown ink
- Production date
Height: 400 millimetres
Width: 298 millimetres (oval, sheet made up)
- Curator's comments
- This purpose of this Correggio-inspired design is unknown. Popham tentatively suggested that it is an early pre-Roman drawing of before 1554, but Romani's suggestion that it is a late work from the end of the 1580s was accepted by Frisoni in the 1987 exhibition catalogue.
Lit: V. Romani, 'Lelio Orsi', Modena, 1984, pp. 94-5, fig. 82; F. Frisoni, in exhib. cat., Reggio Emilia, 'Lelio Orsi', 1987, no. 200, p. 235
Though no other drawings by Orsi are known of exactly this type, the inscription is certainly correct.
Orsi is known to have designed the decoration of two cupolas, that of S. Maria del Carmine at Novellara (a church demolished in 1773), and that of S. Prospero at Reggio Emilia, for which he supplied drawings in 1583. As between these two, the present drawing is more likely to be connected with the church at Novellara: an 'Assumption' would be appropriate to a church dedicated to the Virgin, whereas the cupola of S. Prospero was decorated by Camillo Procaccini in 1585-7 with a 'Last Judgement'. Though this was executed by Procaccini on his own design, Orsi's is likely to have represented the same subject.
The design owes, of course, much to Correggio's 'Assumption' in the cathedral at Parma - the drawing is in fact the most Correggiesque of Orsi's known to me. Whether this implies that it dates from before his visit to Rome in 1554-5 and the preponderant influence of Michelangelo I cannot say. For a subject in which Correggio had so conspicuously excelled, Orsi may well have reverted to a Correggiesque manner.
The regular circle of cherubs' heads finds a close parallel in G. B. Tinti's 'Assumption of the Virgin' in the cupola of the Chiesa delle Cappuccine at Parma (Venturi, ix7, fig. 451).
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: A,22.110