Drawings Of Gaudenzio Ferrari

A GOOD many of Gaudenzio’s drawings and cartoons are to be found at Turin. In the Royal Library is an album containing a good many small drawings belonging to the Lombard School, of which fourteen may be attributed to Gaudenzio. He generally drew on gray or brown paper, sometimes in pen and ink or in crayon, or he painted in gouache. Sepia is chiefly used with white for the high lights, and he also occasionally uses a green colour. Another interesting collection of small drawings is in the possession of the Cavaliere Antonio Abrate of Turin. There are a good many by Lanino in this collection, but twelve are certainly by Gaudenzio, and are very well preserved. The earliest represents the Visit of the Magi, and is about the time of the Varallo screen. Another of the same subject, in pen and ink touched up with white, belongs to a slightly later period. It is very good. Many of these drawings are chequered for enlarging.

In the Albertina at Turin we find a large collection of cartoons. Gaudenzio bequeathed a great number to Bernardino Lanino, who at his death left them to his son Pietro, who valued them at 400 scudi. His heir, the Canonico Carlo Solero, sold them for 800 scudi to the Marchese Serra. Later they got dispersed, but in the reign of Charles Emmanuel I. of Savoy a certain number were acquired for the Royal Gallery at Turin. In 183o King Carlo Alberto ordered all drawings in the Royal Collection to be transferred to the Royal Accademia Albertina delle Belle Arti, where they have remained ever since. There are fifty-eight in all, but some are by Lanino, and in nearly all these cartoons the original strokes of the chalk have been gone over again and again, so that it is difficult to recognise Gaudenzio’s touch anywhere. The following are probably his work :


3. The Nativity.

4. Madonna and Child.

6. A single Figure. Possibly pair to No. 49.

9. Christ in Glory, with Putti bearing the Signs of the Passion. Cartoon for the picture in San Giovanni, near Bellagio.

13. St. Catherine. Possibly pair to No. 18.

14. Madonna and Child, with Worshippers.

15. The Magdalen rising to Heaven. Cartoon for the Vercelli fresco.

18. A single Figure. See No. 13.

22. Annunciation. Very similar to the composition on the Varallo screen.

24. The Deposition.

26. The Resurrection.

27. The Deposition, with Seven Figures.

29. The Nativity.

31. The Apostles.

33. The Sposalizio.

37. An Archangel.

42(?). Signs of the Passion.

44. The Madonna kneeling with Angels. 46. The Holy Sepulchre.

49. St. John. See No. 6.

50. A Bishop. Pair to No. 50 bis.

50 bis. A Bishop. See No. 50.

51. Saint and Angel, with Donor kneeling. 53. The Holy Family.

55. The Virgin, Child, and Saints.

58. The Madonna, St. John, and Saints.

The cartoons for Nos. 9 and 42 were used by two of the Giovenones in pictures now in the Turin Gallery.

A very early drawing exists in the Belle Arti at Vercelli which is of special interest, as it is a youthful copy of a drawing by Perugino. It is painted in gouache in gray and red monotone, and is probably done from a study by Perugino for his ” Deposition,” which was painted in 1495, and is now in the Pitti, as the greater part of the design is a facsimile of that composition. When Perugino was at Pavia in 1498, it is probable that his sketches were eagerly studied by the young Lombard artists. The want of proportion, the ignorance of anatomy, and the clumsiness of the technique, show great inexperience, while the peculiarities of Gaudenzio’s earliest style are found.

In the Uffizi, Morelli found two drawings by Gaudenzio under other names. They are now correctly labelled, and are No. 348, which represents an Assumption of the Madonna with a host of angels, and No. 352, which represents a Madonna and Child with two angels. No. 351 is not by Gaudenzio. It is a copy of a bit of the fresco on the left side of the Chapel of the Crucifixion on the Sacro Monte. It is possibly by the same artist whose copies of the Magdalen frescoes are in the possession of the Avocat Borgogna.* There is the same precise but weak execution, and it is drawn in the same faded yellow ink.

In the Accademia at Venice is a study of five Apostles, probably a sketch for a predella. They are painted in brown, touched up with white, on a gray paper. The ” Last Supper ” there is not by him. Morelli mentions a ” Martyrdom of St. Cecilia ” and an allegorical figure, but I have been unable to trace anything else that could possibly be attributed to Gaudenzio in this collection.

At Milan there is a sketch in the Ambrosiana Pinacoteca, which I have already referred to, as I believe it to be a study for the ” Sposalizio ” in the predella of the big altar-piece at Busto Arsizio. It is full of life and movement. In the Ambrosiana Library Dr. Frizzoni found another drawing by Gaudenzio. It is No. 49 in a book called ” La Galleria Portabile,” which consists of a collection of various drawings under the name of Polidoro di Caravaggio. It is drawn in pencil, with a sepia wash, and touched up with white, and represents an octagonal-shaped cupola, with four angels flying, and in a circular niche is the bust of a Bishop. Another drawing is in Dr. Frizzoni’s own collection at Milan, and represents a Last Supper.

It is drawn roughly with the pen, shadowed with sepia, and lightened with white.

Outside of Italy, London and Oxford are the only places where drawings by Gaudenzio exist. Morelli believed that No. 113 in the Dresden Collection was by him.* It is a decorative scheme representing two ” putti,” with foliage and grapes, and, though reluctant to differ from that eminent critic, I believe. it to be the work of Lanino. It is too finished for Gaudenzio, whose later drawings are strongly but roughly executed. This drawing was photographed by Braun under the name of Correggio, which is yet another proof of the influence of that artist on Gaudenzio, and indirectly on his followers.

In the Print Room at the British Museum we find several drawings belonging to the Milanese School. Two in the Malcolm Collection are by Gaudenzio. No. 318 is a design for a lunette, and represents three figures playing on musical instruments. They are painted in bistre and heightened with white, and done on gray paper. The other drawing is one of the earliest we possess by Gaudenzio, and one of the finest. _ The composition recalls Perugino’s fine picture of the same subject at Florence, but the types are different. The careful manner of delineating the locks of hair is to be found in all Gaudenzio’s early work. The portrait of the donor shows that this must have been the sketch for a commission, and, judging from the finish of the drawing, it was executed earlier than the screen at Varallo. It is delicately and minutely drawn in red chalk, and the high lights painted with white.

Another drawing in the British Museum is probably a study for the ” Madonna degli Arangi ” in San Cristoforo at Vercelli.* There is the same background of foliage and fruit, with ” putti ” playing in the boughs and holding back curtains, and the larger technique shows that it belongs to the Vercelli period.

Another drawing by Gaudenzio is in the library of Christ Church, Oxford. It represents the head of a youth wearing a biretta, and is executed in silver point heightened with white.