ALONSO BERRUGUETE

Paredes de Nava 1486 1561 Toledo

Standing Male Nude

pen & brown ink on darkened paper irregularly cut. 12 x 4" (303 x 100mm). laid down.

provenance:
Lorser Feitelson and Helen Lundeberg, CA (as Bandinelli).

This study is a newly discovered drawing by the intensely expressive Spanish artist Alonso Berruguete. The attribution is based on its similarity to a drawing in the Art Institute of Chicago (1922.50)1 which is also a single figure. The Chicago sheet is of sound attribution as it is a study for the retable of San Benito in Valladolid, 1526/32. Paul Joannides was one of the first to note the similarities of the Chicago drawing to another sheet which first came to light when it was sold in Monaco2 and which was then acquired by the Louvre. All of these attenuated and expressive figures are about the same size and scale and technically are hatched with a similar series of unusually straight and short lines. A fourth drawing in the Uffizi, of Christ at the Column (10286 S), while not as worked up nor finished, still bears comparison. Zahira Veliz has recently seen both the present and the Chicago sheets and finds independently that they are indeed comparable. She also finds the present drawing to be very fine.3

Carmen Bambach Cappell has seen this drawing and also agrees with the attribution, as does Louis Waldman who has seen a photo.

Son of the painter, Pedro, with whom he received his early training, Alonso left for Italy in 1507 and worked in Florence for a long time, where he was greatly influenced by Michelangelo, Donatello, Leonardo, and the sculpture of classical Antiquity. The present drawing is very much indebted to Michelangelo and so one might surmise that it dates from Berruguete's Florentine period. Upon the artist's return to Spain, he created some of the most brilliant and intriguingly emotive sculpture of his century.
1

See S.F. McCullagh and L. Giles, Italian Drawings before 1600 in the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, 1997, pp.33-34.

2

Christies, Monaco on June 30th, 1995, lot 3 (also on cover).

3

in a letter of September 2004.