Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Standing Female Figure in Armor Drawing Her Sword (Minerva or Bellona)

Artist:
Parmigianino (Girolamo Francesco Maria Mazzola) (Italian, Parma 1503–1540 Casalmaggiore)
Date:
ca. 1535–38
Medium:
Pen and brown ink, over traces of black chalk
Dimensions:
sheet: 7 13/16 x 4 5/16 in. (19.8 x 10.9 cm)
Classification:
Drawings
Credit Line:
Anonymous Gift, 2006
Accession Number:
2006.393.21
Not on view
This figure sketch shows the goddess Minerva in plumed helmet and skirted Classical armor standing in three-quarter view facing left about to draw her sword from the scubbard. The drawings is thought to have been preparatory for the statuette of a Classical warrior depicted as a detail at right in Parmigianino’s Portrait of Pier Maria Rossi, Count of San Secondo dated to 1535-38 (Museo del Prado, Madrid), for which another related study is in the Museo di Capodimonte, Naples. In comparison to the painted detail, however, the present sketch shows the figure as quite evidently female and with broader bodily proportions. As is typical of Parmigianino's late drawings, the present sketch is executed with bold, curved parallel hatching done with a fine pen. It is exactly comparable in this to the small-scale pen sketches of 1534-40, of which several related to Parmigianino's late masterpieces were shown in the Museum's 2000-2001 exhibition, "Correggio and Parmigianino Master Draughtsmen of the Renaissance." Closely similar examples of this technique of pen drawing are found in the studies for St. Jerome (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford), the sketches of a Classical statue on the verso of a sheet with ideas for the Madonna of the Long Neck (Pierpont Morgan Library, New York), and two small sheets in Windsor, one portraying Classical heads and the other a composition of Saturn and Philyra (RL inv. 0526 and 0563).
Inscription: verso is annotated by an early English marchand-collector in brown pen and ink: "a/r / 15.0 no. 1712"

Marking: Stamped lower right corner with the collectors' marks of Sir Peter Lely (Lugt 2092) and Sir Joshua Reynolds (Lugt 2364).
Sir Peter Lely (Pieter van der Faes) (British, Soest 1618–1680 London); Sir Joshua Reynolds (British, Plympton 1723–1792 London); sale, Christie's, London, December 9, 1975, lot 15 (to Steiner); John Steiner and Alice F. Steiner; Steiner Family Collection by descent
, Cambridge. "Renaissance and Baroque Drawings from the Collections of John and Alice Steiner," November 18, 1977–January 15, 1978.

Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown. "Renaissance and Baroque Drawings from the Collections of John and Alice Steiner," February 7, 1978–March 20, 1978.

Renaissance and Baroque Drawings from the Collections of John and Alice Steiner. Exh. cat. Edited by Konrad Oberhuber, Fogg Museum, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1977, cat. no. 26, fig. no. 26, pp. 76-77., ill.

David Ekserdjian "Unpublished Drawings by Parmigianino: Towards a Supplement to Popham's catalogue raisonne." Apollo. vol. 150, London, August 1999, cat. no. 65, fig. no. 83, p. 37., ill.

Mario Di Giampaolo, Sylvie Béguin, Mary Vaccaro Parmigianino, The Drawings. Turin and London, 2000, cat. no. 58, fig. no. p. 236, p. 201., ill.



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