This rough and hasty sketch by the great Baroque sculptor effectively conveys the stance and the action of Triton as he rises from the sea and raises the huge shell to his lips. The moment depicted could be that described by Ovid in the Metamorphoses when, after the great flood, Neptune summoned Triton from the depths to sound his horn and make the waters retreat. The sketch corresponds closely to the finished fountain in the Piazza Barberini in Rome, designed by Bernini in 1642-43, where water gushes forth from the conch shell and spills down into the shell-shaped basin in which the Triton sits, raised aloft by intertwined dolphins. This vigorous study represents the principal element of Bernini's Triton Fountain and it is the sculptor's only known autograph drawing for that project, which was commissioned by one of his most important and powerful patrons, Pope Urban VIII (Maffeo Barberini). The fountain is near the Palazzo Barberini.
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Title:Study for a Triton (recto); Anatomical Studies ? (verso)
Artist:Gian Lorenzo Bernini (Italian, Naples 1598–1680 Rome)
Medium:Red chalk, the background tinted with an almost imperceptible pale brown wash, framing lines in pen and brown ink (recto); black chalk (verso)
Dimensions:14 5/16 x 9 5/8 in. (36.4 x 24.5 cm)
Credit Line:Harry G. Sperling Fund, 1973
Inscription: Annotated in pen and brown ink at lower right of recto, G. L. Bernini,. at upper center of verso, Lorenzo Bernini.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings Recently Acquired, 1972–75," October 1, 1975–January 4, 1976.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Notable Acquisitions 1965–1975," December 6, 1975–March 23, 1976.
Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, New York. "Fountains: Splash and Spectacles. Water and Design from the Renaissance to the Present," June 9, 1998–October 11, 1998.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," November 5–January 28, 2002.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," July 13–October 4, 2009.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Bernini Sculpting in Clay," October 3, 2012–January 6, 2013.
Fort Worth. Kimbell Art Museum. "Bernini Sculpting in Clay," February 3–April 14, 2013.
Jacob Bean European Drawings Recently Acquired, 1972–1975. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1975, cat. no. 6, ill.
Jacob Bean "Drawings." The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Notable Acquisitions, 1965-1975. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1975, p. 64, ill.
Jacob Bean Patterns of Collecting: Selected Acquisitions, 1965-1975. Explanatory texts accompanying an exhibition. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1975, p. 64, ill.
Jacob Bean (but catalogue not signed), The Metropolitan Museum of Art Roman Artists of the 17th Century: Drawings and Prints. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1976, n.p.
Ann Sutherland Harris Selected Drawings of Gian Lorenzo Bernini. New York, 1977, cat. no. 37, fig. no. 37, ill.
Jacob Bean, Lawrence Turčić 17th century Italian Drawings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1979, cat. no. 64, fig. no. 64, pp. 42-43, ill.
Il Tritone restaurato. edited by Luisa Cardilli Allosisi, Rome, 1988, cat. no. 2, fig. no. 2, p. 28, ill.
Jennifer Montagu Roman Baroque Sculpture, The Industry of Art. New Haven -- London, 1989, cat. no. 35, fig. no. 35, p. 30, ill.
Marilyn Symmes Fountains: Splash and Spectacles. Water and Design form the Renaissance to the Present Exh. cat., Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum (June 9 - October 11, 1998). New York, 1998, ill.
Marilyn Symmes "Fountains: Designing for the Rise and Fall of Water" Drawing. The international Review published by the Drawing Society. Vol. 20, no. 1, 1998, p. 3, fig. 3.
Ian Wardropper "Sketching on Paper and in Clay: Bernini's Use of Preparatory Drawings and Models." Bernini: Sculpting in Clay. C.D. Dickerson III et. al eds., New York, New Haven and London, 2012, pp. 36-37, fig. 38, p. 366, no. D15.
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