Lelio Orsi

Design for Interior Wall Decoration with Lion and Figures

c. 1560-1565
Although the exact purpose of these drawings is unknown, certain clues point to their use as designs for interior wall decorations. Most tellingly, the blank rectangular zone at the top centre of each sheet was most likely intended to correspond to the area at which a transverse ceiling beam would meet the wall. The detail of a lion holding a sphere emblazoned with an eagle in the sheet at the left suggests a link with the Gonzaga family, which had employed the lion and eagle together as a heraldic device since the fifteenth century. Given the artist's involvement in several Gonzaga commissions in his hometown of Novellara, where he decorated not only interiors but also palace facades, the proposed connection with this ducal house is compelling.
Artist
Title
Design for Interior Wall Decoration with Lion and Figures
Date
c. 1560-1565
Medium
Drawing
Materials
pen and brown ink with brown wash over traces of graphite on buff laid paper, laid down on heavy laid paper
Dimensions
18.8 x 9.1 cm (shared mount for acc. no. 6844.1-2)
Nationality
Italian
Credit line
Purchased 1956
Accession number
6844.1