Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Study for the Decoration of a Vault

Artist:
Orazio Samacchini (Italian, Bologna 1532–1577 Bologna)
Date:
1532–77
Medium:
Pen and brown ink, brush and brown wash, highlighted with white, over black chalk, on blue-green paper
Dimensions:
15-3/8 x 10-1/16 in. (39.1 x 25.5 cm)
Classification:
Drawings
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1971
Accession Number:
1971.66.6
Not on view
Samacchini worked briefly in Rome but primarily in his native Bologna and surrounding areas. In 1570 he secured the commission to paint the vault of the north transept of the cathedral in the nearby town of Parma. In this drawing, Samacchini's decorative scheme for the transept, a seated prophet of the old Old Testament and a pagan sibyl - both types generally understood to be harbingers of the coming of Christ - are depicted in each of the four corners of the vault, accompanied by putti.

The iconography and style of this refined and polished design find their principal inspiration in Michelangelo's frescoes in the Sistine Ceiling (1508-12), with its alternating monumental figures of sibyls and prophets in a variety of complicated poses. At the same time, the compressed, decorative arrangement of the figures and the crisp, ornamental line are closer to some of the designs of Francesco Salviati, and the Zuccari, artists who were working on the decoration of the Sala Regia in the Vatican Palace at the same time as Samacchini. For these stylistic features, the drawing was previously attributed to Cherubino Alberti.

This study's high degree of finish suggests that it may have served as a prospectus drawing for the patron's approval. Despite its level of detail, however, the composition does not correspond precisely to the painted version. Many subtle changes-for example, in the gesture of the right hand of the prophet Jeremiah-reveal the artist's fastidious working method. The identification of the present study and its connection with the decoration of the Cathedral of Parma is due to Philip Pouncey (1970).

(F.R., 2015)
Inscription: Annotated in pen and brown ink at lower left, Cherubino Alberti.

Marking: Collector's mark of Sir Thomas Lawrence, London, stamped blind at lower left corner (Lugt 2445); Collector's mark of Thomas Hudson, London, stamped in black at lower left corner (Lugt 2432).
Thomas Hudson (British, Devonshire 1701–1779 Twickenham); Sir Thomas Lawrence (British, Bristol 1769–1830 London); Sotheby's, London, March 23, 1971, no. 56, purchased by the Met; P. & D. Colnaghi & Co.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings Recently Acquired, 1969-1971," January 18, 1972–April 16, 1972.

National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. "Bolognese Drawings in North American Collections, 1500-1800," September 11, 1981–November 8, 1981.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "15th and 16th Century Italian Drawings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," February 16, 1983–April 17, 1983.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Emilian Drawings and Prints in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1500-1700," March 26, 1987–May 24, 1987.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," April 22, 2002–July 14, 2002.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," April 14, 2008–July 13, 2008.

Jacob Bean Drawings Recently Acquired, 1969-1971. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art (January 18 - April 16). New York, 1972, cat. no. 50, p. 21.

Jacob Bean, Lawrence Turčić 15th and 16th Century Italian Drawings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1982, cat. no. 235, fig. no. 235, pp. 233-34, ill.

Mimi Cazort, Catherine Johnston Bolognese Drawings in North American Collections 1500-1800. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Canada. Ottawa, 1982, cat. no. 14, ill.

Renato Roli "Disegni bolognesi: le mostre di Ottawa e di Stoccarda." Paragone. No. 389, July 1982, p. 71.

Diane DeGrazia Correggio and His Legacy, Sixteenth Century Emilian Drawings. Exh. cat. National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., Washington, DC, 1984, Note 6, pp. 338, 340.

Mario Di Giampaolo "Disegni di Orazio Samacchini per il transetto nord del duomo di Parma." Antichità Viva. nos. 1/3, vol. XXIV, 1985, pp. 50-52, repr.

Mario Di Giampaolo Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venezia. Catalogo dei disegni antichi: disegni emiliani. 6, Milan, 1993, p. 43.

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. 15-16, 151, no. 13, ill.

Alessandro Zacchi La pittura nell'età post-tridentina: osservanza religiosa e osservazione della reltà in Bartolomeo Cesi La pittura in Emilia e in Romagna. Il Cinquecento: un'avventura artistica tra natura e idea. Vera Fortunati Pietrantonio, Bologna, 1994, p. 251, ill.

Olivier Villard Dessins italiens du musée Condé à Chantilly. III: Vénétie, Lombardie, Piémont, Émilie, XVe-XVIe siècle Institut de France, Musée Condé, Chãteau de Chantilly. ed. by Dominique Cordellier, 1998, pp. 146-47.

Mario Di Giampaolo et al. Disegno antico: i disegni della collezione Villani donati ai musei civici di Reggio Emilia. Bologna, 2000, under no. 9.

Carel van Tuyll van Serooskerken The Italian Drawings of the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries in the Teyler Museum. Haarlem, 2000, p. 375, under no. 291.

Ann Percy, Mimi Cazort Italian Master Drawings at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Cinisello Balsamo (Milan), 2004, under no. 3.

Mario Di Giampaolo Mario di Giampaolo. Scritti sul disegno italiano 1971-2008. Ed. by Cristiana Garofalo, Florence, 2010, fig. no. 2, p. 197, ill.



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