Art/ Collection/ Art Object

The Virgin and Child with Saint Martina, Another Study of Saint Martina, Studies of a Head, and of an Arcade (recto); Figure Studies (verso)

Artist:
Pietro da Cortona (Pietro Berrettini) (Italian, Cortona 1596–1669 Rome)
Date:
1596–1669
Medium:
Pen and brown ink, over black chalk
Dimensions:
6 7/16 x 7 5/16in. (16.3 x 18.6cm)
Classification:
Drawings
Credit Line:
Gift of Cornelius Vanderbilt, 1880
Accession Number:
80.3.52
Not on view
The Roman martyr Saint Martina, kneeling before the Virgin and about to receive a flower from the Christ Child, was a subject frequently painted by Cortona. It was in the course of excavations for the crypt of the church of the Academy of Saint Luke in Rome that the body of Saint Martina was discovered. At the time, Cortona was the architect of the church built on that site between 1635 and 1650 (which was eventually dedicated to both Luke and Martina), and the architectural sketches at the top of the sheet may be related to the artist's plans for the church. Cortona was particularly devoted to the cult of the Roman martyr Saint Martina - a third-century martyr who was put to death for refusing to worship idols – and the subject of another drawing in the Museum’s collection (inv. 1979.3).

Citing the Metropolitan's drawing as one of the earliest images of Saint Martina, Jörg Martin Merz notes a sketch of Minerva in mirror-image visible on the verso, which may be linked to the ceiling fresco painted by Cortona in the main hall (Salone) of Palazzo Barberini in Rome. The sheet may therefore be dated to the 1630s, around the same time that the relics where discovered, and may be a study in reverse for Cortona's painting of ‘The Virgin and Child and Saint Martina’ (Musee du Louvre, Paris, inv. 108). Once attributed to Giulio Romano, then to the circle of Correggio, the drawing was recognized in 1958 as a work of Pietro da Cortona by the late Philip Pouncey.
Inscription: Annotated in blue graphite on verso of old mount, Giulio Romano.
James Jackson Jarves; Cornelius Vanderbilt (American, Staten Island, New York 1843–1899 New York); Donor: Cornelius Vanderbilt (American, Staten Island, New York 1843–1899 New York)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Coles Gallery, 8: Tapestries and Paintings, Malachites, Vases, Drawings by Old Masters, Etchings, Photographs, and Tapestries in Gallery 4, Main Hall.," 1895.

Princeton University Art Museum. "A Painting in Context: Pietro da Cortona's Saint Martina Refuses to Adore the Idols," October 14, 2006–January 21, 2007.

Coles Gallery, 8: Tapestries and Paintings, Malachites, Vases, etc.; Drawings by Old Masters, Etchings, Photographs, and Tapestries in Gallery 4, Main Hall. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Hand-book, no. 8, New York, 1895, cat. no. 52.

Jacob Bean, Lawrence Turčić 17th century Italian Drawings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1979, pp. 110-11, no. 142, repr.

Jörg Martin Merz "Santa Martina Refuses to Adore the Idols: Pietro da Cortona's Painting at Princeton in Context." Record of the Art Museum, Princeton University. vol. 62, Princeton, NJ, 2003, pp. 91-94, 102, fig. 5, fig. no. 5.



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