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Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Study after Caravaggio's 'The Cardsharps' with color notes

Anonymous, Italian
After Caravaggio (Michelangelo Merisi) (Italian, Milan or Caravaggio 1571–1610 Porto Ercole)
Pen and brown ink, brush and brown wash with white heightening
sheet: 5 7/8 x 6 7/8 in. (15 x 17.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Joseph F. McCrindle Collection, Bequest of Joseph F. McCrindle, 2008
Accession Number:
Not on view
This powerfully rendered scene of Cardsharps by a game table is based on a composition by Caravaggio of the same subject (Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth), painted about 1595-1600, but is not an exact reprise of the painting. The sheet includes at upper right a separate, summary sketch of the head of the same young man, who sits by the table at right in the more fully developed main scene. The drawings on the sheet are done with an unusually expressive handling of the pen and very bold chiaroscuro, qualities that indicate that this was from a sheepish copyist of Caravaggio. The sheet is inscribed at bottom right in pen and the similar color ink as the drawing, "calzoni rossi con striscie gialle" (red pantaloons with yellow stripes). The figures are annotated with letters (clockwise from left), "n," "b," "n," "v," "b," "g." ["r" ?]. These are color notes (nero, bianco, nero, verde, bianco, grigio, rosso). The fact of the annotations further confirms that this is after a painting. Alfred Moir and Frederick Den Broeder have suggested this drawing is possibly by a Northern artist of ca. 1600, but to the present compiler the draftsman is more likely Italian (also because of the idiomatic color notes). The influence of Agostino Carracci seems notable. (CCB, 2009)
Inscription: bottom right: "calzoni rossi con striscie gialle"; around the figures, left to right, "r, b, r, v, b, g, v[?]"
Thomas Lloyd (British), Lockridge House, Wantage, England; Hans M. Calmann (British, London 1899–1982 London); Joseph F. McCrindle (American, New York 1923 - 2008 New York), New York; Donor: Joseph F. McCrindle
Bernard Berenson Del Caravaggio: Delle sue incongruenze e della sua forma. Florence, 1951, fig. no. pl. 14, p. 46, ill.

Alfred Moir "Drawings after Caravaggio." Art Quarterly. vol. 35, 1972, pp. 121-142.

Alfred Moir Caravaggio and His Copyists. New York, 1976.

Frederick den Broeder Old Master Drawings from the Collection of Joseph F. McCrindle. Exh. cat. Princeton University Art Museum, Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois; The Frick Art Museum, Pittsburgh; University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor; Duke University Museum of Art, Durham, North Carolina. 1991, , cat. no. no. 31, pp. 80-81.

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