National Gallery of Canada / Musée des beaux-arts du Canada

Bulletin 28, 1976

Annual Index
Author & Subject

Speculations on Two Drawings 
Attributed to  Giorgio Vasari

by David McTavish

Pages  1  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6   


20 Cf. especially the drawings published by Kultzen, 1968, op. cit., pls CXXIV-CXXV, and again by Marabottini, op. cit., vol. II, pl. CXXVI, 1-4, as copies after the prophets formerly on the façade of San Pietro in Vincoli. With regard to the setting, the rectangular cell framing St Peter and the angel in the Christ Church drawing is remarkably similar to the rectangular niches enclosing the prophets; cf., in particular, a drawing at Cologne (Z 1938), repr., Kultzen, 1968 op. cit., fig. 4, and Marabottini, op. cit., vol. Il, pl. CXXVI, 4. The gesture of the angel as he leads St Peter from prison may also be compared to that (in reverse) of the prophet in the same drawing.

21 It is generally agreed that this fresco, too, may be connected with San Pietro in Vincoli; see Luitpold Dussler, Raphael, A Critical Catalogue of his Pictures, Wall-Paintings and Tapestries, English ed. (London and New York: Phai don, 1971), p. 81. Pope Julius II, who commissioned the painting from Raphael, had previously been Cardinal in charge of San Pietro in Vincoli, and he retained an interest in the church throughout his life. His tomb which includes Michelangelo's Moses, was eventually erected in its right transept.

22 For example, Jacopo di Cione's predella panel in the Johnson collection, Philadelphia, and Luca della Robbia's relief from the St Peter altar of the Duomo, Florence, now in the Bargello.

23 Ironically, Vasari, in his "Life of Battista Franco," Le Vite, vol. VI, pp. 571-588, repeatedly censures Franco for his concentration on disegno at the expense of the other branches of art. It is also worth noting that Vasari says nothing about Battista Franco ever having taken an interest in the subject of St Peter in prison.

24 No. 17917. Provenance: Reiger-Szovertify Coll., no. 55 (mark in red on verso; not in Lugt); repr., Sotheby's, London, sale 6 March 1973, lot 54, pl. 3.

25 Another drawing by Vasari of Prudence is in the Institut Néerlandais, Paris, but it shows the figure unmistakably with female features, and it is in an oval format. It has been connected with Vasari's frescoes on the ceiling of the refectory of Monteoliveto, Naples, 1544-1545: C. Monbeig-Goguel and W. Vitzthum, "Dessins inédits de Giorgio Vasari," Revue de l'Art, I (1968), pp. 88, 90.

26 For example when the drawing was part of the exhibition Recent Acquisitions of Old Master Drawings, which toured Canada in 1974-1975, it was labelled "attributed to Giorgio Vasari."

27 No. 13411F. Classified as by Polidoro da Caravaggio. The drawing has been attributed to Vasari by A. Cecchi. There are several numbers and letters inscribed on the drawing, including at the lower right the word "Giorgio."

28 No. 13560F. Classified as by Perino del Vaga. The drawing has been tentatively assigned to Vasari's circle by J. Gere; to Vasari himself by A. Cecchi. I am indebted to Dott.essa A. Forlani Tempesti for these particulars and for those in note 27.

29 For example, the drawing in the Louvre of marine deities; repr., Monbeig-Goguel, op. cit., pp. 166-167, no. 216. Evidently it was not uncommon for Vasari to make more than one virtually identical version of his own drawings; for another example, see Monbeig-Goguel, op. cit., pp. 147-148, nos 191-192.

30 Inv. Nr. 462. Classified as by Perino del Vaga. From the collection of Julien de Parme. The drawing was called an old copy after Francesco Salviati by Franz Wickhoff, "Die italienischen Handzeichnungen der Albertina," Jahrbuch der kunsthistorischen Sammlungen der Allerhöchsten Kaiserhauses, XIII (1892), p. CCXVl, S. R. 552. What is evidently a copy of this drawing is in a private collection in Charlottesville, Virginia; repr., Monbeig-Goguel, I Disegni dei Maestri, Il Manierismo Fiorentino (Milan: Fratelli Fabbri, 1971), pl. XXV. The purpose of these copies - or of the virtually identical drawings by Vasari himself - is by no means clear. Perhaps the copies were made by assistants to serve as records of what was a temporary decoration.

31 The fresco is in Vasari's own house in Arezzo; repr., Paola Barocchi, Vasari Pittore (Milan: Club dellibro, 1964), pl. 23. For the date, see Frey, op. cit., vol. II, p. 859, ricordo no. 128.

32 Twice Vasari described the apparato at some length. First, in a letter of 1542 to his Florentine patron, Ottaviano de' Medici, reprinted in Le Vite, vol. vm, pp. 283-287, and also in Frey, op. cit., vol. I, pp. 111-116. And second, in his life of Cristofano Gherardi (Doceno) in the second edition of Le Vite (1568), vol. VI, pp. 223-225. Vasari was assisted in this commission by his pupils Bastiano Flori of Arezzo and Cristofano Gherardi and Battista Cungi of Borgo San 42.

33 Juergen Schulz, "Vasari at Venice," Burlington Magazine, CIII (1961), pp. 500-511. Since the publication of this I should like to acknowledge my debt to Mme Catherine fundamental article, a number of other drawings connected Vasari's apparato have come to light. These include: a detailed study in the Louvre (Inv. 2168) showing marine deities for the large painting immediately to the right of the stage ("Monbeig-Goguel" op. cit., pp. 166-167, no. 216); a drawing at Düsseldorf (FP6422) for the fourth hour of the day (E. Schaar, Meisterzeichmmgen der Sammlung Lambert  Krahe [exhibition catalogue; Düsseldorf Kunstmuseum:  1969-1970], pp. 21-22, no. 14, fig. II); another formerly on the London art market for the nineteenth hour (T. Clifford "Old Master Drawings in Albemarle Street," Burlington Magazine, CXVII [1975], pp. 319, 321, fig. 52) and yet another hour for the ceiling perhaps by one of the pupils (Asta di disegni daI XVI al XIX secolo, Finarte, Milan, 204, 1975, lot no. 44, attributed to T. Zuccaro); and lastly a drawing at Lulworth (no. 167) of marine deities for one of the wall paintings (identified by Monbeig-Goguel and soon to be published by her).

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