Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Villa of Agostino Chigi (La Farnesina), Rome, north façade, with ornamental detailing (recto); Villa of Agostino Chigi (La Farnesina), Rome, plan and moulding profiles (verso)

Drawn by Anonymous, French, 16th century
early to mid-16th century
Dark brown ink, black chalk, and incised lines
sheet: 17 1/8 x 22 7/16 in. (43.5 x 57 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Janos Scholz and Anne Bigelow Scholz, in memory of Flying Officer Walter Bigelow Rosen, RCAF, 1949
Accession Number:
Not on view
Inscription: recto:
A final descriptive drawing in medium brown ink features bistre wash over the courtyard elevation and diagonal hatching for the fenestration. Hatching creates depth for all openings. The final ink work is executed over freehand red chalk preparatory drawing. The exceptions may be the framing vertical lines of the left and right exterior walls. Additional preparatory drawing is executed in black chalk for the elements of the roof including an attic or belvedere and the various chimneys, campanello. The square top chimney seems to be either revised or shown along the perpendicular axis with a small fragment shown above the elevation. This fragment is labeled with an x and a similar mark labels the square top chimney, although the ink has bled and the shape and clarity of the label is lost.

Only one incised line appears to be used in the construction of the drawing. This seems to indicate the projection limit of the base, and the cornices of the first story and the façade. A typical festoon is drawn upside down to the rest of the elevation and to the upper right. The festoon is a symmetrical composition about a central shaft on a four footed base (a fountain or, perhaps, a candelabra). Ribbons define the upper register of the panel and putti flank the ends of the panel.

A section of the belvedere is also provided above the façade elevation with an additional small-scale elevation of the concealed face of the belvedere. The section portrays the structural organization of the roofing members. The major space, the sale is labeled in the window of the second story on the right hand wing. This is the only functional occupation labeled on the façade drawing.

The façade drawing is dimensioned throughout with major dimensions (eg. overall first story, window sill to cornice, window opening height, frame width, column height), but not smaller details (eg. cornice and capital measures). Detail elements of the façade, such as window heads are labeled Q and S, arcade arch moulding is labeled R, and arcade balustrade railing is labeled V. These details do not appear on the recto of the sheet. Smaller unlabeled profiles of a cornice and an entablature are drawn to the right of the belvedere without dimensional notation or reference.

Architectural elements feature dimensions in units marked as p. o, and : (palmi, oncia, and minuti). Selected features include: the first story window opening, p12:3 (3.9cm); the width of window surround trim, o14 1/2 (4.5cm); the width of second story column shaft: p2o3 (0.9cm); the height of second story column base: o10 (0.35cm); the first story cornice to façade base: p39 o11 (13.1cm); the first story the height of the pedestal from base to cornice: p5o3 (1.65cm, representing a length of 1.1728m).

No scale is provided. By calculation from various measured architectural features the scale is approximately 1 oncia represents 6 palmi (or 0.0186m = 1.34m).

In the lower left corner the drawing is labeled faciade de gustin guize transtib [erino]. The bracketed letters have saturated the paper with ink. Several finely ruled constructions are executed on each half of the verso. The right-hand construction features concentric compass drawn circles. This construction has an annotation drawn with a fine point: oninipotent sin____ cf … A cornice which appears on the left-hand half of the verso is annotated by the same hand: aice santo marm.

The verso is dominated by a detail elevation of the corner pilasters of the first and second stories from the base to the cornice of the façade. This drawing runs across the top of the sheet and provides the orientation for the majority of the drawings of the verso, other details labeled on the façade drawing on the recto.
On the left hand side of the folio on the lower half is a freehand plan of the second floor, indicated by the label salle seconda pianta di cius anisi . The major staircase and the service stair of the left-hand wing are also functionally labeled. The hand of the labeling and the text of the lower left corner is the same. The same hand uses a pair of f's or a symbol adjacent to the lower left corner of the plan and framed by the preparatory red chalk drawing of the plan.

The detail moulding elevations (Q, S, R, and V) are drawn in red chalk and then executed in medium brown ink. The cornice fascia is executed as a transparent element to reveal the recess between the modillions with the perimeter egg and dart moulding. The details are not dimensioned, with the exception of the torus, trim, and dado of the base, respectively, o10 (1cm), o1 (0.25cm), and p2o10 (1.45cm). On the verso the height of the pedestal from base to cornice of the first story pilaster is 6.85cm. This corresponds to the dimension of p5 o3 (1.1728m) provided on the recto.

(Geoffrey Taylor, 2004)

Marking: Watermark: Fleur-de-lis in circle surmounted by a star, close to Borroni Fig. F, Heawood 1574, Woodward 107 and 108, and Zonghi 351. These marks date to the 1580s.
Georges-Paul Chedanne (French, 1861–1940), before 1940; János Scholz, 1947-1949; Donor: Mr. and Mrs. János Scholz
James S. Ackerman "Review of Frommel 1961" Art Bulletin. vol. 44, 1962, pp. 243-46, repr.

James Grantham Turner "Peruzzi and the Villa Farnesina Façade: Two Drawn Fragments Reconsidered." Master Drawings. vol. 53, no. 3, 2015, p. 279, fig. 8.

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