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print study / drawing

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1862,1011.199

  • Description

    Leda and the Swan, with Castor, Pollux, Helen and Clytemnestra; trees behind Pen and brown ink, on grey-brown prepared paper

  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1492-1549
  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 125 millimetres
    • Width: 151 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Inscribed: "Giorgione"
  • Curator's comments

    Purchased as by Giorgione, and as a study for the engraving. Hind noted that the figures appear, with some differences, in an engraving by the Master IB with a Bird (Hind, V, no 10, VII, pl. 841). Hind's suggestion that the drawing was a preparatory study for the print was rejected by Pouncey, who, following a suggestion by Giuseppe Morelli, favoured an attribution to Sodoma. Hind's attribution to the Master IB with a Bird, identified as Giovanni Battista Palumba, is, however, now generally accepted and it seems likely that the present drawing is related to the engraving. Little is known about Palumba except that one of his prints, the 'Three Monstrosities' (Hind 3), relates to three prodigies of nature which appeared in Rome in 1503 and it is presumed that he was in the city at that time. He may well have been a Lombard as the style and subject matter of this drawing and the related print suggest a knowledge of Leonardo's work in Milan (for an account of the artist see K. Oberhuber, in Washington cat., pp. 440-5). Oberhuber noted that the Palumba's treatment of the theme of Leda was inspired by drawing by Leonardo and Cesare da Sesto, and he dated both the drawing and the print to circa 1510.
    Lit..: G. Morelli, 'Die Galerie Borghese und Doria-Pamphli in Rom', Leipzig, 1890, pp. 190ff; A.M. Hind, 'Early Italian Engravings', London, 1948, V, under no. 10, p. 258; P. Pouncey review of Hind, 1948, 'The Burlington Magazine', XCI, 1949, p. 236; J.A. Levenson, K. Oberhuber and J. L. Sheehan, in exhib. cat., Washington, National Gallery of Art, 'Early Italian Engravings from the National Gallery of Art', 1973, under no. 162, p. 452, fig. 22-5.

    This drawing was issued as a coloured facsimile by the British Museum in 'Reproductions of Drawings by Old Masters in the British Museum', Part II, Published by the Trustees, in 1891 where it was number XV and described there as 'Anonymous: Milanese School, Leda and her Children with the Swan.'

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  • Location

    Not on display (Italian Roy XVIc)

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1862

  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number

    1862,1011.199

Leda and the Swan, with Castor, Pollux, Helen and Clytemnestra; trees behind Pen and brown ink, on grey-brown prepared paper

Leda and the Swan, with Castor, Pollux, Helen and Clytemnestra; trees behind Pen and brown ink, on grey-brown prepared paper

Image description

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