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Giovanni de' Vecchi

Giovanni de Vecchi (1536-1615)
A Scene from Ancient History, early 1590s
Pen and brown ink, violet wash, over black chalk; squared for transfer
Inscribed on old mount, at lower center, in pen and brown ink, Camillo Procaccini.
9 1/4 x 6 1/8 inches (235 x 155 mm)
Joseph F. McCrindle collection, Morgan Library & Museum, 2009; 2009.330
See CORSAIR catalog record for this item »

The subject of the drawing remains a puzzle: two children, observed by an elegant woman, appear before a seated ruler. They peer into an object, possibly a helmet, while a man at right studies a slip of paper. Are these two child martyrs selecting a name by taking an inscribed piece of paper out of a helmet? This drawing is executed in the artist's typical free handling, in which his favored violet wash wraps the subject in veils of color.

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Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.