Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Allegory of the Old and New Dispensations

Artist:
Carlo Maratti (Italian, Camerano 1625–1713 Rome)
Date:
1700–1708
Medium:
Pen and brown ink, over black and red chalk, highlighted with white gouache, on light brown paper
Dimensions:
11 7/8 x 8 5/16in. (30.2 x 21.1cm)
Classification:
Drawings
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1967
Accession Number:
67.95.10
Not on view
A late work by the prolific Maratti, this drawing depicts a complex theological allegory. Gathered around an altar on which rests a chalice containing the Eucharistic wine are the four Evangelists, authors of the Gospels and representatives of the New Dispensation. In the background at the right is the king-priest Melchizedek making an offering while gazing upward at an angel holding a tablet that represents either the Pentateuch (the Hebrew Bible, or Five Books of Moses), or possibly the Tablets of the Law. This subsidiary tableau is a portrayal of the Old Law or Old Dispensation that, according to Catholic theology, was superseded with the advent of Christianity.


Maratti produced this drawing as the design for the frontispiece of an elaborate missal published in 1714. One of the artist's biographers reports that the aged artist in his last years suffered from a palsy that restricted his activity to the production of drawings and sketches, many produced as designs for engravings. This complex and beautiful design confirms such written biographical testimony.

Peter Dreyer identified this late drawing by Maratti as that reproduced in reverse by Giovanni Girolamo Frezza in an engraving dated 1708 (Dreyer 1969). A dry replica of the present drawing is in the Royal Library, Windsor Castle. Although Dreyer published the Windsor drawing as an original by Maratti, Anthony Blunt suggested that it is an old copy after the Metropolitan Museum's sheet (Blunt 1971). (For full bibliography see here "References")
Inscription: Annotated in pen and brown ink at upper left, PAX: in pen and brown ink at lower right, N, 15.; in graphite on reverse of old mount, Design for a Spandril / "Peace" (Pax) / Original drawing by Domenichino.
Colnaghi stock number written in pencil on backing (at lower right corner) 29866.
P. & D. Colnaghi & Co.
Pennsylvania State University, Museum of Art. "Carlo Maratti and His Contemporaries: Figurative Drawings from the Roman Baroque," January 19, 1975–March 16, 1975.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," February 26, 1996–May 5, 1996.

Philadelphia Museum of Art. "Art in Rome in the Eighteenth Century," February 27, 2000–May 21, 2000.

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. "Art in Rome in the Eighteenth Century," June 17, 2000–September 17, 2000.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," January 12, 2009–April 12, 2009.

Exhibition of Old Master Drawings. Exh. cat., June 13 - 30. P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., 1967, cat. no. 50.

Peter Dreyer "Notes on a Maratti Drawings in New York." in Master Drawings. vol. 7, no. 1, New York, 1969, fig. no. pl. 12, pp. 24-25, ill.

Sir Anthony Blunt Supplement to the Italian Drawings at Windsor Castle. Exh. cat. Windsor Castle. 1971, cat. no. 290, p. 96.

Jean K. Westin, Robert H. Westin Carlo Maratti and His Contemporaries, Figurative Drawing from the Roman Baroque. Exh. cat., Museum of Art, Penn State University (19 Jan. - 16 Mar., 1975). Pennsylvania State University, Museum of Art, University Park, 1975, pp. 44-45, no. 24.

Jacob Bean, Lawrence Turčić 17th century Italian Drawings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1979, cat. no. 280, fig. no. 280, p. 214, ill.

Flights of Fantasy. Exh. cat., August 4 - November 7. Queens Museum of Art, New York, 1982, cat. no. 47, fig. no. 47, ill.

Edgar Peters Bowron, Edgar Peters Bowron, Joseph J. Rishel, Philadelphia Museum of Art Art in Rome in the Eighteenth Century. Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, 2000, (entry by Stella Margaret Camp Rudolph), cat. no. 372, pp. 527-29, ill.

"Review: Art in Rome in the Eighteenth Century [Exhibition Catalogue] by Edgar Peters Bowron, Joseph J. Rishel." Master Drawings. Vol. 40, no. 2, 2002, (Review by Richard B. Wright), fig. no. 1, p. 169, ill.



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