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The Cumaean Sibyl before Tarquin the Proud

Artist:
Niccolò dell' Abate (Italian, Modena 1509–1571 Fontainebleau (?))
Date:
16th century
Medium:
Pen and brown ink, brush and brown wash, highlighted with white gouache, on traces of lead point or black chalk, on light brown paper
Dimensions:
Sheet: 8 5/8 x 6 1/16 in. (21.9 x 15.4 cm)
Classification:
Drawings
Credit Line:
Purchase, Guy Wildenstein Gift, 2002
Accession Number:
2002.117
Not on view
This lively narrative scene is related to a lost fresco cycle for the Palazzo Torfanini in Bologna, which depicted episodes from the life of the last king of Rome, Tarquin the Proud. The scene represents the critical moment when King Tarquin decides to purchase the remaining three volumes of the prophetic books offered him by the Cumaean Sibyl. Six of these volumes are already burning in the foreground, cast onto the flames when the king refused to pay the high price demanded by the sibyl. Although Niccolò left for Fontainebleau in 1552, the decorative works that he carried out in Bologna had a lasting influence on artists of that city.
Inscription: on backing: P. Collin
no. 70 de notre catalogue
P. Collin (French, 1832–1890/95)sold at Collin auctions, June 20-22, 1832, Paris; Collection Beneaux(stamp on mount); Private Collection, Paris; Galerie de Bayser, Paris; Vendor: Galerie de Bayser, Paris
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," April 22, 2002–July 14, 2002.

Foro Boario, Modena. "Nicolo dell' Abate: storie dipinte nella pittura del Cinquecento tra Modena e Fontainebleau," March 20, 2005–June 19, 2005.

Sylvie Béguin, Francesca Piccinini Nicoló dell'Abate: Storie dipinte nella pittura del Cinquecento tra Modena e Fontainebleau. Exh. cat., Foro Boario, Modena. Cinisello Balsamo, Milan, 2005, (entry by Sylvie Béguin), cat. no. 114, p. 337, ill.



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