Amya Petitioning Faustus for the Custody of Saint Mamas
Jean Cousin the Elder (French, Souci (?) ca. 1490–ca. 1560 Paris (?))
Pen and brown ink, brush and gray wash, with white gouache, over black chalk
9 1/4 x 12 5/8 in. (23.5 x 32 cm)
Rogers Fund, 2001
Not on view
This recently discovered sheet is a rare work by Jean Cousin the Elder, one of the most central and appealing artists of the French Renaissance. He was active as a designer of tapestry, stained glass, and book illustration, as well as ephemeral festival decorations for the French court. Nonetheless, Cousin’s oeuvre has proven difficult to reconstruct as the majority of his designs were ultimately executed by skilled artisans in other media.
This is one of a small number of unassailably autograph sheets by his hand. It is connected to a set of eight tapestries illustrating the life of St. Mamas—of which three survive today-- commissioned in 1543 for the cathedral in Langres.
Saint Mamas was an obscure child martyr who lived in Capadoccia in the second century. He was born in prison to a father who died just before his birth and a mother who died just after. A local widow, Amya, was instructed by divine vision to petition the governor for permission to adopt the child and give his parents a Christian burial. The lost tapestry for which this is a study would presumably have been the first in the series.
Perrin Stein, May 2014
Inscription: Inscribed in pen and black ink at lower center, Carron.
Vendor: Hill-Stone, Inc.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," February 26, 2013–May 20, 2013.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Paper Chase: Two Decades of Collecting Drawings and Prints," December 9, 2014–March 16, 2015.
Carmen C. Bambach, Elizabeth E. Barker, Colta Ives, Michiel C. Plomp, Perrin Stein, Gary Tinterow "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 2000-2001." in The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, vol. 59, no. 2, Autumn 2001, pp. 24-5, ill.
Thomas P. Campbell Tapestry in the Renaissance: Art and Magnificence. Exh. cat. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2002, cat. no. under no. 56, p. 477.
Perrin Stein "A New Drawing by Jean Cousin the Elder for the Saint Mamas Tapestries." in The Metropolitan Museum Journal. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, vol. 37, 2002, pp. 63-76, ill.
Ian Wardropper "The Flowering of the French Renaissance." in The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, n.s. vol. 62, New York, Summer 2004, p. 24, ill.
Dominique Cordellier, Pierre Rosenberg, Peter Märker Dessins Français du Musée de Darmstadt XVIe, XVIIe, et XVIIIe Siècles. Exh. cat., Hessisches Landesmuseum Darmstadt Graphische Sammlung. Montreuil, 2007, cat. no. under no. 2, p. 40.
Dominique Cordellier Precisions sur quelques apports des peintres florentins a l'art en France: Andrea del Sarto, Rosso Fiorentino, Andrea Sguazzella, Giovanni Capassini. Silvana. Milan, 2011, fig. no. 187, 288, 289, 301.
Frédéric Elsig Peindre en France à la Renaissance. Silvana. Milan, 2012, fig. no. 82, 140.
Cécile Scailliérez, Hélène Billat, Michèle Bimbenet-Privat, Dominique Cordellier, Peter Fuhring, Marianne Grivel, Isabelle Haquet, Maxence Hermant, Séverine Lepape, Guy-Michel Leproux, Danièle Véron-Denise, Olivier Renaudeau, Henri Zerner, Audrey Nassieu-Maupas Jean Cousin père et fils Une famille de peintres au XVIe siècle. Somogy. Paris, 2013, fig. no. 10, 26, 27, 32, 50, 51, 90, 116, 200.
Artist: Jean Cousin the Elder (French, Souci (?) ca. 1490–ca. 1560 Paris (?)) Date: 16th centuryMedium: Pen and brown ink, brush and brown wash, heightened with white, over slight traces of black chalkAccession: 63.117On view in:Not on view
Artist: Probably designed by Jean Cousin the Elder (French, Souci (?) ca. 1490–ca. 1560 Paris (?)) Date: 1547–59Medium: Wool, silk (16-18 warps per inch, 7-8 per cm.)Accession: 42.57.2On view in:Not on view