Apollo Driving the Chariot of the Rising Sun

Luca Cambiaso Italian

Not on view

This composition drawing depicts Apollo, god of the sun, driving the chariot of dawn seen in a relatively frontal view. The sheet is inscribed "sole oriente," to indicate the rising of the sun on the east. Since the ink of the inscription appears to be of the same hue as the darkest passages in the outlines of the drawing, this could be an iconographic inscription by the artist himself. A companion drawing, representing the chariot of Apollo (erroneously identified as the chariot of Phaeton), but seen in a view from behind to indicate the setting sun on the west, is inscribed in a complementary manner, "sole cadente." It sold at Sotheby's, London on May 21, 1963, lot 131. A copy of the "sole cadente" composition, incorrectly attributed to Antonio Tempesta, is in the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris (Ancien fonds no. EBA 384). That design derives from an original by Luca Cambiaso as well.
To judge from both its iconograph and its foreshortening, this composition was probably preparatory for a fresco on the ceiling of a salone in a palace.The squaring grid in red chalk over the figural drawing suggests a relatively monumental scale. The scenes thus likely refer to the sun god Apollo, and the moon goddess, Diana, driving their chariot across the skies. Cambiaso's associate Giovanni Battista Castello, il Bergamasco, frescoed the subject about 1552 on the walls of he Villa Giustiniani Cambiaso, Genoa.
(Carmen C. Bambach, 2014)

Apollo Driving the Chariot of the Rising Sun, Luca Cambiaso (Italian, Moneglia 1527–1585 Madrid), Pen and brown ink, brush and brown wash, over black chalk; squared in red chalk

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