Borgo San Sepolcro ca. 1570 — ca. 1620 ?
Study of a Magi Bearing His Gift
verso: a signed letter in dark grey ink
black chalk. 101/4 x 73/8" (260 x 188mm). a letter on the verso is signed.
Though it is thought that Schiaminozzi studied with Rafaellino dal Colle or Santi di Tito, in technique this drawing is reminiscent of chalk drawings by the Roman artist Taddeo Zuccaro. Were it not for the signature on the verso of this sheet, it would have been extremely difficult to have known by whom it is. Drawings by Schiaminossi are quite rare. Less than a dozen are known and most of these were only very recently published in the first monographic exhibition and catalogue on this Tuscan artist.1 Of these only one drawing is a chalk study;2 the rest are pen & ink & wash compositional sheets, probably preliminary sketches for fresco projects. Very little of the artist’s painted oeuvre is known. Most of what remains and is identified are his engravings of which over 150 plates are known. These date from 1595 until 1620. Most famous were those etched after Jacopo Ligozzi’s extraordinary landscape drawings of La Verna for one of the most unusual books of the 17th century. It depicts the mountain retreat of St. Francis of Assisi. Shiaminossi’s etching technique was “bold, featuring dense areas of dark hatching contrasted with lightly etched areas.”3 The treatment and chiaroscuro effect of the present expressive drawing is perhaps less bold than the etchings.
This study is probably of Balthasar, one of the three kings depicted in compositions of the Adoration of the Kings, the king who represents Africa.
Giannotti, Casciu and Cleri, Raffaello Shciaminossi Incisore, Sant’Angelo in Vado, 2000. Two drawings not included in this recent publication but reproduced in the Gernsheim photographic collection are 1. in Turin and 2. sold in London in 1921.
Uffizi, inv. 7357F. illustrated in the aforementioned exhibition catalogue, p. 51.
S.W. Reed & Richard Wallace, Italian Etchers of the Renaissance and Baroque, Boston, 1989, pp. 214-215.