River God After the Antique (Tiber), early 1540s
Inscribed at lower right, in pen and brown ink, with the artist's monogram, Æ.V.
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1910
Active in Rome during the early 1540s, the engraver and antiquarian Vico may well have made this study and its companion, of the river god Nile, as designs for prints. At the time, the pair of colossal antique marble statues were displayed in the Belvedere courtyard as part of the papal collection of antiquities; both served as fountains.
When the Tiber, now preserved in the Louvre, Paris, was discovered in 1512 near the church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, Pope Julius II immediately had it brought to the Vatican. The statue was much admired for the apparent ease with which the figure leans back against the she wolf.