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Rome After Raphael
January 22 through May 9, 2010

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The Crucifixion; Moses and the Brazen Serpent
Farnese Hours, 1546
Illuminated byGiulio Clovio (1498-1578)
Italy, Rome, dated 1546
6 3/4 x 4 3/8 inches (173 x 110 mm)
Manuscript with 114 folios comprising 28 miniatures, on vellum
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1903; MS M.69 102v–103r

The Farnese Hours was once the most famous illuminated manuscript. Completed in Rome for Cardinal Alessandro Farnese in 1546, this book of private devotions was lavishly illustrated by the miniaturist Giulio Clovio, who was called the "new Michelangelo" in his time and later the "Raphael of miniaturists." Here Clovio carried the art of illumination to unprecedented heights.

The miniature of the Brazen Serpent is based on Michelangelo's composition of the same subject in one of the pendentives on the Sistine Chapel ceiling. Clovio adjusted a number of relationships among figures so as to make the original, triangular frescoed image fit the rectangular space of the page. The prominent figure of Mary in the Crucifixion is based on a drawing by Michelangelo.

Attributed to Giulio Clovio (Grisane, Croatia, 1498–1578 Rome)
The Dream of Human Life, after Michelangelo
Black chalk, some stumping, and some outlines indented for transfer
Inscribed at lower left, in pen and brown ink, Michel Angelo.
14 5/16 x 10 3/4 inches (364 x 272 mm)
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1910; IV, 7a

This carefully articulated study is one of numerous versions of a composition by Michelangelo. The subject has been interpreted as an allegory representing the struggle between the intellect and the passions or as the celebration of the purifying force of love. The nude youth at center is surrounded by vignettes illustrating the vices of gluttony, voluptuousness, greed, wrath, and sloth.

A prime version of this subject, generally considered to be Michelangelo's original, is in the Courtauld Institute, London. It belongs to a group of highly finished drawings called presentation drawings, three of which were known to have been made for the young Roman nobleman Tommaso Cavalieri, beloved by Michelangelo.

Attributed to étienne Dupérac (Paris or Bordeaux 1520–1604 Paris)
The Baths of Diocletian (Reconstructed View)
The Ruins of Rome, ca. 1569–75 (illustrations)
Manuscript with 46 illustrations and accompanying text in Italian
Pen and brown ink, with brown wash, on vellum
Leaves: 9 13/16 x 7 13/16 inches (250 x 200 mm)
Gift of the Giannalisa Feltrinelli Foundation, Ltd., in memory of Giannalisa Feltrinelli, 1997; MS M.1106

This volume, titled Disegni de le ruine di Roma e come anticamente erono (Drawings of the Ruins of Rome and How They Once Were), contains forty-six pen-and-ink panoramas of sixteenth-century Rome preceded in many cases by imaginatively "restored" views of the same ancient buildings. The illustrations are attributed to the French painter, engraver, and garden designer étienne Dupérac, who resided in Rome from 1559 to 1578. The album, which is on precious vellum and was probably intended as a gift for Pope Gregory XIII, was unfinished.

Attributed to Prospero Fontana (Bologna 1512–1597 Bologna)
Socrates Inspired by a Genius
Pen and brown ink, brown wash, over traces of black chalk; illusionistic frame in pen and brown ink, by the artist
4 3/4 x 3 5/8 inches (121 x 91 mm)
Gift of Professor Julius S. Held in honor of Felice Stampfle, 1992; 1992.24

Fontana designed the great majority of the engravings that illustrate Achille Bocchi's Symbolicarum Quaestionum . . . libri quinque (Five Books of Symbolic Questions), which, like Salviati's drawing Emblematic Design, reflect the Renaissance fashion for personal devices.

The present drawing is preparatory to the third emblem, dedicated to Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, who is invoked with the words, "You who are the greatest of the Farnese." Unusually, the philosopher Socrates is represented in the act of drawing because, according to the accompanying motto, "through images the most hidden meanings are revealed."

Attributed to Prospero Fontana (Bologna 1512–1597 Bologna)
Two Alternative Designs for a Dish, One with a Battle of Marine Creatures, the Other with a Bacchanal
Pen and brown ink, brown wash; stylus indentations at right; composition silhouetted to a fan shape
Inscribed on made-up part at lower center, in pen and brown ink, Baldassare Peruzzi da Siena.
10 3/4 x 16 1/4 inches (271 x 408 mm)
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1910; IV, 187

This drawing is probably a design for a large piatto da pompa, a platter typically made of embossed silver and used for display on a credenza during festive occasions. Alternatively, the design may have been intended for a majolica wine cooler, as suggested by its marine and Bacchic themes. The dish, however, does not seem quite deep enough for this purpose.

The traditional attribution to Baldassare Peruzzi recorded in the old inscription was accepted until 1991, when the more decorative style of Fontana was recognized.

Giovanni Guerra (Modena 1544–1618 Rome)
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego Saved from the Fiery Furnace
Pen and brown ink, brown wash, over traces of black chalk
Inscribed at lower center, in pen and brown ink, F. Zucaro.
7 3/4 x 8 3/4 inches (197 x 222 mm)
Purchased as the gift of the Fellows, 1965; 1965.3

Together with Cesare Nebbia, Guerra was one of the two superintendents of painting for Pope Sixtus V (r. 1585–90), who commissioned from them extensive fresco cycles for the Vatican Library, Santa Maria Maggiore, and the Holy Steps.

In this scene from the Book of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are brought before King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon for having refused to worship a golden idol (presumably the oversized statue resembling the king at right). When thrown into a fiery furnace, they are miraculously saved by an angel, causing Nebuchadnezzar to extend his protection to the Jewish people. The story centers on one of the crucial tenets of the Counter-Reformation: the Catholic reaffirmation of the veneration of images in the face of the Protestant accusation of idolatry.

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