- Museum number
Study for a figure of St Elizabeth, seen almost in profile to left, her head inclined
- Production date
Height: 426 millimetres
Width: 265 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Lit.: N. Turner, 'Italian Drawings in the BM, Roman Baroque Drawings', London, 1999, I, no. 171
Popham, in a note on the modern museum mount, connected this drawing with Maratti's picture of the 'Visitation' in S.Maria della Pace in Rome, one of a series of four large canvases by different artists that decorate the octagonal space beneath the cupola. The commission was executed at the behest of Pope Alexander VII after the renovations in the church, carried out by Pietro da Cortona, had been completed in 1656.
To the left of the drawing is the outline of the drapery of the Virgin's right arm and of her raised left knee. There are also indications of her left hand clutching St Elizabeth's left hand, and (largely concealed by the drawing of the drapery) of her right arm which is raised to St Elizabeth's left shoulder. Other studies for the figure of St Elizabeth are in the Uffizi, Florence (inv. no. 9681s; Florence, 1967, no. 79; Florence, 1997, no. 133); the Kunstmuseum, Düsseldorf (inv. no. FP 1177 verso; Harris and Schaar, 1967, no. 203 verso); and in the Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart (inv.no.c 76/2612; Thiem, 1977, no.411). This last was formerly in the Martin von Wagner Collection, Würzburg University, and was first published by Cassirer when in that collection (1922, p. 67, repr.). All four drawings are closely related compositionally and all differ from the finished painting in which St Elizabeth bends further forwards, with her left leg stretched further back and her head inclined outwards instead of inwards. While the Düsseldorf drawing appears the most sketchily composed and therefore possibly the earliest of the four, it is otherwise difficult to establish a chronology for the remaining three, for each of which Maratti has found a different solution for the drapery. The Stuttgart drawing is probably the most carefully finished and may consequently have been drawn last in the sequence.
A small preparatory drawing for the whole composition is in the Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin (inv.no. 15248; Berlin, 1969, no. 108), in which the pose of the figure of St Elizabeth corresponds closely to that in the group of drawings discussed above. A study for the figures of Mary and St Elizabeth, on a sheet with studies for two other figures for the 'Visitation', is in Düsseldorf (inv.no. FP 9980; Harris and Schaar, 1967, no. 202).
Other drawings in the Academia de San Fernando, Madrid, have been connected by Mena with various figures within the composition (inv.nos 1158, 1126, 1454 A and B, 1299, 1300 and 1212; Mena, 1975, II, pp. 567-8, nos 38-43).
Literature: Mezzetti, 1955, p. 337, under no. 109 and repr. fig. 17, p. 274; Florence, 1967, under no. 79; Harris and Schaar, 1967, p.94; London and Edinburgh, 1973, under no. 84; Mena, 1975, II, p. 569; Bellini, 1977, p. 52, under no. 52; Thiem, 1977, p. 226, under no.411; Paris, 1990-91, p. 35, under no. 18; Florence, 1997, p. 203, under no. 133.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1965, BM, Masterpieces of the Print Room, (no cat.)
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: FAWK,5210.72