price: U.S. $9,000

Several Florentine Artists

16th and 17th centuries

Four Drawings Mounted to an old Album Leaf: a female nude seen from behind, a male nude seen from 3/4 rear view, a winged putto, and a seated putto blowing a conch

all drawn with black chalk. the female nude measures 121/8 x 55/8", the male nude measures 131/2 x 71/8" and is inscribed C. Passignano, the winged putto measures 3 x 33/4", the seated putto measures 35/8 x 25/8". All are cut irregularly. The whole album leaf measures 163/8 x 11" (415 x 280 mm) and is numbered u/r: 31.

from an album assembled probably by Pietro Dandini in the late 17th or early 18th century, and then passed by descent through the Dandini family until this century when acquired by the previous owner. The drawings in the album included accademies by Vincenzo and Pietro Dandini as well as Florentine drawings of the Cinquecento.

The male nude study on the right-hand side of this large album sheet is inscribed Passignano and in fact compares well with Passignano's published drawings of male nudes in the Gabinetto Nazionale delle Stampe in Rome and in the Uffizi. The drawing is probably a work of the last decade of the Cinquecento. The female nude on the left-hand side seems to be of an earlier date. The handling is similar to that displayed in a drawing at the Fogg Museum given (wrongly) to Bronzino, a study after Bandinelli's Cleopatra, another drawing of a female nude seen from the rear. But the technique is not unlike that sometimes employed by Vasari and some of his rarefied assistants. It is often quite difficult to attribute with conviction drawings that are based on other works of art and in the case of both nude drawings so far mentioned, they appear to be drawn after Renaissance statues that are in turn themselves derived from Ancient works. For instance, the pose of the female nude is very close to that of Bandini's Juno, which in turn is based on any number of Antique marbles of Venus, while the athletic male bears resemblance to two bronzes by Giambologna, Mars and Hercules, both modelled with an eye to Antiquity. The two small drawings of putti are of the 17th century and probably by one of the Dandini. They too appear to be after sculptural works. One is reminded of the small Renaissance and Baroque bronzes of putti astride dolphins, for example.

That all of these accomplished drawings are still mounted on the album sheet since the Seicento is very unusual. That the drawings are all Florentine, are unified by a common theme, and had been incorporated into an album of wholly Florentine drawings by a Florentine artist, makes them more exceptional still.