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Design for a Grotesque Decoration

Artist:
Luzio Luzzi (also known as Luzio Romano, Luzio da Todi) (Italian, active Rome, documented 1519–1582)
Date:
ca. 1543–45
Medium:
Pen and brown ink, brown wash.
Dimensions:
10 3/4 x 8 13/16 in. (27.3 x 22.4 cm)
Classification:
Drawings
Credit Line:
Robert Lehman Collection, 1975
Accession Number:
1975.1.334
Not on view
Probably a fragment of a larger design, this sheet was likely a study for a wall decoration in stucco or fresco. The drawing may have served as a modello, or presentation drawing for a patron, which included annotations indicating the various colors to be used. This type of design, consisting of variously shaped panels adorned with ornamental motifs and mythological figures, was known as "grotesque" (or grotteschi, from the Italian word, grotto, or cave). Inspired by ancient Roman painting, these all’antica designs provided a significant and highly popular model for sixteenth century artists and were frequently used as ceiling or wall decorations in villas and palaces.
Inscription: Inscribed on the recto in pen by the artist: campo rosso / nero / verde / azurro / giallo / verde / nero / biancho / verde / nero.

Marking: Annotated on the verso of the backing in pencil, perhaps in Mayor's hand (?): G. da Udine / Zu (?) Nanni; in pen and black ink: W. C. 1245 1442 (1245 crossed out in pencil), with a red stamp: M. K. & Co.
William Mayor, London (Lugt 2799); Jeffery Whitehead, London; Whitehead sale 1903, lot 19; John Postle Heseltine, London (Lugt 1507); [P. and D. Colnaghi and Obach, London]; [M. Knoedler and Co., New York and London]; Enrique L. Heniot, New York; [M. Knoedler and Co., New York and London]; [Richard Erderheimer, New York]; Philip Hofer, Cambridge (Mass.)
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