Giorgio Vasari (Italian, Arezzo 1511–1574 Florence)
Pen and brown ink, brush and brown wash, over traces of red chalk
6 3/4 x 15 7/16in. (17.2 x 39.2cm)
Rogers Fund, 1971
Not on view
The drawing, surely from the hand of Vasari himself, is a study for an Allegory of Earth painted by his assistant Cristofano Gherardi in the Sala degli Elementi, Palazzo Vecchio, Florence. There are a number of differences between the preparatory drawing and the finished fresco. Vasari supplied a full description of the complex symbolism of this allegorical composition that is dominated by the figure of Saturn holding up a serpent that bites its own tail. This circular symbol is said to be an Egyptian hieroglyph, symbolic of the rotundity of the heavens among other things.
Inscription: Annotated on the verso: '2321 /Perino/3791'
Marking: Collector's mark of E. Colando, Paris, stamped in black ink at lower right (Lugt 837).
Emile Calando (Paris, 1850–1900); John Gere (British, 1921–1995 London)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings Recently Acquired: 1972-1975," October 1, 1975–January 4, 1975.
Yale University Art Gallery. "Vasari's Florence: Artists and Literati at the Medicean Court," April 14, 1994–May 15, 1994.
Hermann Voss Die malerei des Spatrenaissance in Rom und Florenz. vol. 1, Berlin, 1920, p. 283, pl. 98.
Adolfo Venturi Storia dell'arte italiana: Vol. 9: La Pittura del Cinquecento. vol. 9, parts 1-2, Milan, 1925, p. 332, fig. 183.
Walter Vitzthum "Reviews: Vasari Pittore; Complementi al Vasari Pittore; Mostra di desegni del Vasari e della sua cerchia (by Paola Barocchi)." Master Drawings (Reviews of three works on Vasari by Paola Barocchi). vol. 3, no. 1, New York, 1965, p. 56, fig. 2.
The Merchants' Hall Italian 16th-Century Drawings from British Private Collections Edinburgh Festival. August 23 - September 13, 1969. The Merchants' Hall, Edinburgh, 1969, p. 42, no. 89.
Jacob Bean European Drawings Recently Acquired, 1972-1975 Exh. cat. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1975, no. 31, ill.
E. Allegri, Alessandro Cecchi Palazzo Vecchio e i Medici, guida storica. Florence, 1980, p. 71, fig. 17, II.
Jacob Bean, Lawrence Turčić 15th and 16th Century Italian Drawings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1982, p. 257, no. 262, fig. 262.
Larry J. Feinberg From Studio to Studiolo: Florentine Draughtsmanship under the First Medici Grand Dukes. Exh. cat., Allen Memoria Art Museum, Oberlin College, Bowdoin College Art Museum and Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College. Oberlin, 1991, pp. 190-91, no. 52.
William M. Griswold, Linda Wolk-Simon Sixteenth Century Italian Drawings in New York Collections. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art (January 11 - March 27, 1994). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1994, pp. 32-33, 168, no. 27, ill.
Vasari's Florence: Artists and Literati at the Medicean Court. Exh. cat. Yale University Art Gallery. New Haven, 1994, p. 34, no. 28.
Marco Chiarini, Cristina Giannini, Alan P. Darr, Ian Wardropper, Palazzo Strozzi, Art Institute of Chicago, Detroit Institute of Arts L'ombra del genio Michelangelo e l'arte a Firenze 1537–1631. Florence, 2002, p. 339, no. 210 (entry by Florian Härb).
Florian Härb The Drawings of Giorgio Vasari (1511-1574). Rome, 2015, pp. 368-9, no. 278, fig. 64.