FLORENTINE SCHOOL (c.1550-1600)
A GARLANDED PUTTO HOLDING A CARTOUCHE
(After Raphael’s The Prophet Isaiah, Basilica di Sant’Agostino, Rome)
Bears inscription in black chalk l.l. Raphael d’Urbino
Red & black chalks with pencil & lead white on laid paper
Watermark: Six-pointed star above the letter "M" in an escutcheon
(close to Briquet 8390: Florence 1529)
38.8 x 25 cm
Anonymous Sale, Swann Galleries, New York, 25.01.2006, Lot 17
(as Follower of Raffaello Sanzio);
Private Collection, U.K.
We are grateful to Dr Rhoda Eitel-Porter for her assistance in cataloguing this work: Dr Eitel-Porter has suggested that the work is most likely Florentine and likely dates to the second half of the 16th century, though she adds that it may also be Emilian.
This charming drawing in chalks shows one of the immediately-recognisable putti in Raphael's fresco of The Prophet Isaiah at the church of Sant'Agostino in Rome (see fourth image for side-by-side comparison). The original painting was commissioned by Janus Corycius, a Luxembourgish scholar and clergyman who held a senior position within the Papal curia, as well as patronising numerous poets and artists other than Raphael.
With a delicate line in the handling of the figure, contrasted with the emphasised outlines of the garland draped around his neck, our artist was evidently both a talented copyist and highly skilled draughtsman in their own right. The work is drawn on Florentine paper, with the sheet measuring a considerable size for a work such as this and a watermark seen on another Florentine sheet (dated by Briquet to c.1529).