Art/ Collection/ Art Object

The Drunken SiIenus: Design for the "Tazza Farnese"

Annibale Carracci (Italian, Bologna 1560–1609 Rome)
Pen and brown ink, brush and brown wash, over traces of black chalk, and stylus compass constructions. Framing lines in pen and brown ink and black chalk or charcoal
sheet: 10 1/16 x 10 1/16 in. (25.6 x 25.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Harris Brisbane Dick and Rogers Funds, 1972
Accession Number:
Not on view
The debauched god Silenus of Greek mythology reclines in the center, already drunk and about to continue imbibing wine from the sack held by a horned satyr and a nude youth, while at either side putti climbing on the ornamental vines of the frame offer grapes to the group. This final, highly finished demonstration drawing is for a standing silver cup or salver (the "Tazza Farnese"), for Annibale's patron Cardinal Odoardo Farnese and is one of the only signed drawings by the artist. The "Tazza Farnese" is no longer extant. A silver plaque (Museo Nazionale, Naples), probably a copy rather than an original piece from the "Tazza" was rediscovered in 1955. It was apparently used for printmaking, and pulls from it were taken from a fairly early date onward. Two other studies by Annibale for this silver plaque have survived (British Museum, London; and Art Institute of Chicago [formerly in the Ellesmere collection]), and represent earlier stages of the design. With respect to the Naples plaque, the present drawing reveals only minor changes.

Annibale produced a number of preparatory sketches for the Farnese cup, including this one, in which the border is incised for transfer. The figural scene is not incised, and some changes are evident in the print that records the finished design: the position of the figures has been shifted, and the thyrsos, a staff carried by followers of Bacchus, has been replaced with the shepherd's crook that is an attribute of Pan.
Inscription: The recto is annotated by 17th- or early 18th-century hand, at lower border, in pen and brown ink: "Annibale Caracci" (This is most probably not Annibale's signature, as has been suggested by Kate Ganz's note on January 27, 1999).
The verso of the mount is annotated by a 19th-century British hand (scribe, working for the 1st Earl of Ellesmere; numbers and text relate to Bridgewater House catalogue, later published, London, 1898), on upper half, in pen and black ink: "60. Annibale Carracci. Design for the celebrated dish made for the / Cardinal Farnese: a bacchanalian subject surrounded by a wreath of the / vine, + [and] two cupids: of his finest time. Engraved. Size 10" x 10", in a / circle. From the Collection of the Marquis Legoy. T. Dimsdale + [and] / Sir T. Lawrence".
The verso is annotated by an early modern hand, at center, in graphite: "C".

Marking: Stamp a secco, at bottom center, Sir Thomas Lawrence (Lugt 2445)
Stamp, at bottom center, Marquis de Lagoy (Lugt 1710)
Stamp, at bottom center, but very imperfectly printed, Sir Joshua Reynolds (Lugt 2364; deciphered by Donato Esposito, July 17, 2013, based on measurements and his knowledge of Reynolds' collection). As Dr. Esposito states, a good number of the Reynolds stamps are very imperfectly printed and/or smeared.
Stamp, at lower right, Francis Egerton, 1st Earl of Ellesmere (Lugt 2710b)
Boutin; Sir Joshua Reynolds (British, Plympton 1723–1792 London); Jean-Baptiste-Florentin-Gabriel de Meryan, marquis de Lagoy (French, 1764–1829); Sir Thomas Lawrence (British, Bristol 1769–1830 London); Francis Egerton, 1st Earl of Ellesmere (British, London 1800–1857 London); by descent to; John Sutherland Egerton, 6th Duke of Sutherland (British, 1915–2000); his sale, Sotheby's, London, July 11, 1972, lot 69, repr.
Palazzo dell'Archiginnasio, Bologna. "Mostra dei Carracci," September 1, 1956–November 25, 1956.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints by the Carracci," April 24, 1973–July 1, 1973.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings Recently Acquired: 1972-1975," October 1, 1975–January 4, 1975.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Notable Acquisitions 1965-1975," December 6, 1975–March 23, 1976.

National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. "The Drawings of Annibale Carracci," September 26, 1999–January 9, 2000.

Chiostro del Bramante, Rome. "Annibale Carracci," January 23, 2007–May 6, 2007.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," July 13, 2009–October 4, 2009.

Sixth Exhibition: One Hundred Original Drawings by Ludovico, Agostino, and Annibal Carracci.. Lawrence Gallery and Messrs. Woodburn's Gallery, London, London, 1836, no. 74.

Catalogue of the Ellesmere Collection of Drawings at Bridgewater House. Ellesmere Collection at Bridgewater, London, Bridgewater House, London, 1898, no. 60.

P. A. Tomory The Ellesmere Collection of Old Master Drawings Exh. cat. Leicester, 1954, no. 48, pl. 48 and frontispiece, ill.

Drawings by the Carracci and other Masters. Exh. cat. P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., 1955, no. 14.

Otto Kurz "Engravings on Silver by Annibale Carracci." in Burlington Magazine. vol. 97, London, 1955, pp. 282-87, pl.15.

Ralph Holland, London The Carracci, Drawings and Prints. Exhibition Catalogue: The Hatton Gallery. Newcastle upon Tyne, 1961, no. 124.

Sir Denis Mahon, Maurizio Calvesi Mostra dei Carracci. Disegni. Exh. cat., Palazzo dell'Archiginnasio, Bologna (Sept. 1 - Nov. 25, 1956). 2nd edition revised and corrected (1st. in 1956). Bologna, 1963, pp. 88-89, no. 113 (as "Scozia, collezione del Conte di Ellesmere in deposito al Leicester Museums and Art Gallery").

Sir Anthony Blunt Supplement to the Italian Drawings at Windsor Castle. Exh. cat. Windsor Castle. 1971, no. 100.

Donald Posner Annibale Carracci: A Study in the Reform of Italian Painting Around 1590. vol. 1, 5. Phaidon, London, 1971, vol. 2, p. 50.

Jacob Bean Drawings and Prints by the Carracci. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (April 24-July 1, 1973). New York, 1973, no. 19.

Jacob Bean European Drawings Recently Acquired, 1972-1975 Exh. cat. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1975, cat. no. 12.

Jacob Bean in The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Notable Acquisitions, 1965-1975: Drawings. New York, 1975, p. 62, ill.

Jacob Bean Patterns of Collecting: Selected Acquisitions, 1965-1975 Explanatory texts accompanying an exhibition: December 6, 1975 through March 23, 1976. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1975, p. 62 (entry by Jacob Bean), ill.

Jacob Bean (but catalogue not signed), The Metropolitan Museum of Art Roman Artists of the 17th Century: Drawings and Prints. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1976, ill.

Jacob Bean, Lawrence Turčić 17th century Italian Drawings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1979, cat. no. 104, fig. no. 104, pp. 76, 77, ill.

Diane De Grazia Prints and Related Drawings by the Carracci Family Exh. cat. National Gallery of Art, Washtington D.C. (March 18 - May 20, 1979). Washington, D.C., 1979, pp. 461, 464, fig. 19H.

Diane DeGrazia Le Stampe dei Carracci. Washington, D.C. and Bologna, 1984, pp. 242-43, fig, 339H, under "Annibale 19".

Linda Martino, Bertrand Jestaz I Farnese: Arte e Collezionismo Exh. cat. Galleria Nazionale, Parma and Museo e Gallerie Nazionali di Capodimonte, Naples. Lucia Fornani Schianchi, Nicola Spinosa, Parma and Naples, 1995, pp. 382-84, no. 168.

Daniele Benati, Margaret Morgan Grasselli The Drawings of Annibale Carracci. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art, Washington, Sept. 26, 1999-Jan. 9, 2000. Washington, 1999, pp. 214, 216, 220-23, 224, 227, 264, no. 67 (entry by Kate Ganz).

Evelina Borea et. al L'idea del Bello. Viaggio per Roma nel Seicento con Giovan Pietro Bellori. Exh. cat., Palazzo delle Esposizioni (March 29-June 26, 2000). Rome, 2000, p. 255, under no. 34 (entry by Catherine Loisel).

Ann Sutherland Harris "The Drawings of Annibale Carracci by Daniele Benati." Master Drawings. 43, no. 4, 2005, p. 517, 522, no. 67.

Daniele Benati, Marco Riccòmini Annibale Carracci Exh. cat., Museo Archeologico, Bologna and Chiostro del Bramante, Rome. 2006, pp. 346-47, no. VII.24 (entry by Daniele Benati).

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