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Classical Gods, Muses, and Allegorical Figures

Artist:
Giuseppe Salviati (Giuseppe Porta, called Il Salviati) (Italian, Castelnuovo di Garfagnana ca. 1520–ca. 1575 Venice)
Date:
1566–67
Medium:
Pen and brown ink, brush and brown wash, highlighted with white gouache, over black chalk, on blue paper; circular framing outline in compass point and brown ink
Dimensions:
diameter 5-1/2 in.
Classification:
Drawings
Credit Line:
Purchase, Wildenstein & Co. Inc. Gift, 2000
Accession Number:
2000.204
Not on view
Based on the attributes of the figures, the subject matter of this composition has been identified as a gathering of the Classical gods Apollo, Mercury, and Pallas, accompanied by the muses, as well as by the allegorical figures of Prudence and Fame. The flying figure of Mercury at upper right, with caduceus in hand, injects diagonal movement to the asymmetrical group of recumbent figures around the music-making Apollo at upper left.

The study may have been preparatory for the central painting on the ceiling of the Sala dell'Anticollegio at the Palazzo Ducale in Venice. Executed by Giuseppe Porta in 1566-67, the project was destroyed in the fire of 1574: the drawing represents a crucial visual testimony of this lost work. Philip Pouncey, specialist in Italian Old Master Drawings, first discovered the correct attribution of this drawing (see here ‘References’ and McTavish 1981 and McTavish 2004).

(C.C.B.)
William Bates (British, 1824–1884 Birmingham); Dr. Max A. Goldstein, St. Louis (American, 1870–1941 St. Louis, Missouri); János Scholz McTavish, op. cit., p.362, no.38; Thomas Williams Fine Art Ltd., London
David McTavish Giuseppe Porta called Giuseppe Salviati [Ph.D. dissertation]. PhD diss., The Courtauld Institute of Art, Garland Publishing Co., 1981 cat. no. 38, fig. no. 228, p. 254, ill.

David McTavish "Additions to the Catalogue of Drawings by Giuseppe Salviati" Master Drawings. vol. 42, no. 4, 2004, p. 334, n. 9.



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