Francesco di Giorgio Martini (Italian, Siena 1439–1501 Siena)
Pen and brown ink, brush and brown wash, blue gouache, on vellum
7 1/4 x 7 1/4 in. (18.4 x 18.4 cm)
Robert Lehman Collection, 1975
Not on view
Francesco di Giorgio was a Sienese sculptor, painter, illuminator, architect, and military engineer. The precise function of this drawing is uncertain; it may record an idea for a tomb sculpture or perhaps a painting. The foreshortened architectural perspective and the downward gaze of the figures suggest the work was intended to be placed high on the wall of a chapel or nave. The male figure in the center, flanked by muses or figures representing the liberal arts, may portray the patron, suggesting a memorializing function. Alternatively, this vellum sheet may have served as the frontispiece for Francesco di Giorgio’s treatise on machines, in which case, the male figure may be a self-portrait of the artist.
Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings
Inscription: Annotated in pen and brown ink at the lower left: Franc[esc]o Francia; in faint black chalk on the cartouche, in what might be a seventeenth-century hand: Franc[esc]o / Francia Bolognese
George Le Hunte, Artramont, County Wexford, Ireland; Misses M. H., L. E., and M. D. Le Hunte; Le Hunte sale 1955, lot 42; acquired by Robert Lehman in 1955.