Exhibitions/ Art Object
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Bearded Nude Male Figure Running Toward the Right

Artist:
Veronese School, possibly a follower of Stefano da Verona (Stefano di Giovanni) (Italian, Verona (?) 1374/75–?ca. 1438 Castel Bragher)
Date:
mid-15th century
Medium:
Pen and brown ink.
Dimensions:
12 1/16 x 8 in. (30.6 x 20.3 cm)
Classification:
Drawings
Credit Line:
Robert Lehman Collection, 1975
Accession Number:
1975.1.422
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 964
The strong contours of this sheet, seen especially in the treatment of the hair and beard, recalls Stefano da Verona's drawing style, as are the parallel hatched lines used to create shading. The drawing was likely produced by a follower of the artist. The identity of this nude male figure running in a landscape, bearing the attributes of a single boot, a shield, and a spray of flowers, remains enigmatic. It may represent a mythological god -- perhaps Jupiter -- or an allegorical figure. It is also possible that it depicts a wild man, a mythical figure covered in hair who was popular in medieval and Renaissance legend. Symbolizing strength and the balance between the human and natural world, wild men were frequently depicted bearing a heraldic shield.


A significant document in the early history of collecting, the drawing bears a partially canceled collector's mark and an inscription (“Questo desegno fo de felixo") to the right of a cross bisecting a circle in either half of which is placed the initials "f" and "e", which could have been written by the early fifteenth-century Veronese collector, Felice Feliciano.
Marking: Annotated in pen and brown ink in a fifteenth-century hand at the lower right: Avanti; at the upper right: Fato (?); inscribed at the upper left, “Questo desegno fo de felixo,” (probably referring to an early fifteenth-century Veronese collector, Felice Feliciano, who owned the drawing). Trace of a fragmented watermark with a caduceus (or a thin spot of paper).
Felice Feliciano, Verona (?); Francesco Calceolari (or Calzolari), Verona; Conte Lodovico Moscardo, Verona; acquired from the Moscardo family in 1905 by Luigi Grassi, Florence (Lugt Suppl. 1171b); Frits Lugt, Paris; Grassi sale 1924, lot 116, ill. Acquired by Robert Lehman in 1924.
Evelyn Karet. Drawings of Stefano da Verona and His Circle and the Origins of Collecting in Italy: A Catalogue Raisonné. Philadelphia, 2002, pp. 35, 140-141, no. R21.



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