Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri) (Italian, Cento 1591–1666 Bologna)
Pen and brown ink, brush and brown wash
sheet: 6 9/16 x 7 13/16 in. (16.7 x 19.9 cm)
Gift of Cornelius Vanderbilt, 1880
Not on view
This rather damaged sketch can be connected to a motif of secondary figures at the upper right of the fresco of Aurora on the ceiling of the Casino Ludovisi, Rome. This connection was pointed out by Carmen C. Bambach in February 2007. The group of figures, members of Aurora's entourage, appears at the upper right of the rectangular opening of Agostino Tassi's sotto in su architectural construction that frames the main scene. Specific points of comparison are a group of three figures with a more prominent young female, who points the way forward with an outstretched left arm and pointer finger. At the bottom right of the Museum's study is what could be the flowing drapery of a figure seen in the fresco who beckons Aurora towards the figure of Night. The figures of the Museum's drawing are conceived in the same direction as those of the fresco design and the setting is clouds.
Instead this motif has been traditionally compared with Guercino's fresco of Rinaldo Abducted by Armida on the ceiling of the Palazzo Costaguti, Rome, which is dated similarly to c. 1621-23. Guercino's ceiling painting in the Palazzo Costaguti, Rome, which represents the sleeping Rinaldo abducted by Armida in a chariot (Mahon, 1968, fig. 7). The subject is derived from Torquato Tasso's Gerusalemme Liberata (XIV, 65-68). However, the youth in this drawing certainly does not appear to be asleep. A pen drawing in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, has been identified by Denis Mahon as a study for the Palazzo Costaguti painting, which dates from the second half of 1621 (Mahon, 1969, no. 77, repr.). Stylistically, the Cambridge sketch is quite close to the present drawing.
Signature: Casino Ludovisi fresco signed and dated 1621
Inscription: The recto is annotated, at lower left, in graphite: "298". The verso is annotated, three times, in pencil: "294".
Marking: No watermark visible: Sheet glued on to a secondary paper.
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.
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. 294, p. 21.
Jacob Bean, Lawrence Turčić 17th century Italian Drawings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1979, cat. no. 243, fig. no. 243, p. 186, ill.
Luigi Salerno I Dipinti del Guercino. Rome, 1988, cat. no. under no. 77, p. 157.
William M. Griswold "Guercino." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, n.s. vol. 48, no. 4, New York, Spring 1991, fig. no. 27, pp. 28-31, ill.
Nicholas Turner, Carol Plazzotta Drawings by Guercino from British Collections. London, 1991, cat. no. under no. 30, p. 62.
Artist: After Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri) (Italian, Cento 1591–1666 Bologna)Date: 17th centuryMedium: Pen and brown ink, brush and brown wash, over traces of black chalk, on cream paperAccession: 80.3.453On view in:Not on view