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Rome After Raphael
January 22 through May 9, 2010

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Niccolò Martinelli, called Trometta (Pesaro ca. 1540–1611 Rome)
St. Matthew, Seated, with an Angel, and Two Small Sketches for the Same Figure
Pen and brown ink, brown wash, heightened with white gouache, on gray-brown paper; squared in red chalk; two small sketches in pen and black ink
Inscribed at lower right, in graphite, Farinat[i]; at lower center, in black chalk, 16.
16 x 10 3/8 inches (405 x 264 mm)
Purchased as the gift of the Fellows, 1962; 1962.17

Upon moving to Rome in the 1560s, Trometta encountered the art of Taddeo Zuccaro and soon became one of his followers. This is one of a series of studies by Trometta for frescoes in the choir of Santa Maria in Aracoeli, Rome, painted from 1566 to 1568 and considered the artist's masterpiece. The Aracoeli vault consists of a central oval depicting the Virgin and Child with Angels set between large rectangular compartments with four frescoes of the evangelists filling the corners. This drawing depicts St. Matthew at work on his Gospel, apparently receiving advice from the angel (his attribute) hovering at his shoulder.


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Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475–1564)
David Slaying Goliath, Four sketches
Black chalk
a: 2 5/8 x 4 3/8 inches (68 x 11 mm); b: 2 1/16 x
3 1/4 inches (52 x 82 mm); c: 2 x 2 11/16 inches
(50 x 68 mm); d: 2 13/16 x 3 1/2 inches (71 x 88 mm)
Gift of J. P. Morgan, Jr.; I, 32a-d

Michelangelo and his follower Daniele da Volterra first met in the 1540s; around 1555 Michelangelo provided drawings, including the present ones, for several of the five paintings commissioned by Giovanni della Casa from Daniele. These powerful, rapidly executed studies of two grappling figures served as the basis for Daniele's lost clay model and doublesided painting on slate depicting David Slaying Goliath. Michelangelo had previously treated the subject in one of the spandrels of the Sistine Chapel.


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Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475–1564)
Annunciation to the Virgin
Black chalk, outlines indented
15 1/8 x 11 11/16 inches (383 x 297 mm)
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1909; IV, 7

This magnificent drawing represents Michelangelo's design for an altarpiece commissioned around 1547 for the Cesi family chapel in Santa Maria della Pace, Rome. Roused from her reading by the sudden appearance of a large angel who announces that she is to conceive and bear a son, the Virgin turns to look over her shoulder, raising a protective hand. The figures are evoked by a dense layering of delicate black chalk strokes, whereas the marks of the domestic setting—a cabinet supporting a statue of Moses and containing a basket, book, and pitcher—are only lightly outlined. Characterized by Vasari as a "cosa nuova" (new thing), the image constitutes a benchmark for religious art in Rome around 1550.


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Girolamo Muziano (Brescia 1532–1592 Rome)
Capture of Christ
Black chalk, heightened with white gouache, on blue paper; squared in red chalk
Inscribed at lower left, in pen and brown ink, P. vago; at lower right, in pen and brown ink, 60.R.
9 3/8 x 9 5/8 inches (235 x 244 mm)
Gift of Janos Scholz, 1979; 1979.5

Of northern Italian origin, Muziano arrived in Rome in the mid-1550s and quickly established himself as a prominent painter and print designer, working for Cardinal Ippolito d'Este in the early 1560s and becoming a favorite of Pope Gregory XIII. Muziano treated the subject of the capture of Christ in several drawings and paintings. This sheet, however, which may date to the early 1560s, matches none of the extant versions. Here the central characters of the narrative, Christ and the two soldiers apprehending him, as well as the hand of Judas, are picked out with white highlights.


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Cesare Nebbia (Orvieto ca. 1536–ca. 1614 Orvieto)
St. Susanna Refusing to Sacrifice to a Pagan God, ca. 1595
Pen and brown ink and brown wash; squared for transfer in red chalk
Purchased on the Edwin H. Herzog Fund, 1999; 1999.13

From 1595 to 1597, Nebbia decorated the apse of the church of Santa Susanna in Rome with a series of large frescoes illustrating scenes from the life of the early Christian martyr Susanna. In this preparatory study for the large fresco to the right of the altar, Susanna refuses to worship a large statue of Mars, which stands on a stone pedestal, while a servant brings an animal for sacrifice. In the finished fresco, the figure of Mars is replaced by Jupiter, the stone pedestal transformed into a tripod, and the sacrificial animal replaced by a libation—all very clear indications that Nebbia's design was revised in accordance with a textual source.


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Cesare Nebbia (Orvieto ca. 1536–ca. 1614 Orvieto)
St. Paul on Malta, ca. 1580
Pen and brown ink, brown wash, over black chalk
Joseph F. McCrindle collection, Morgan Library & Museum, 2009; 2009.221
Photography by Graham Haber, 2009

This drawing is a study for one of a series of frescoes on the ceiling of the Galleria delle Carte Geografiche (Gallery of Maps) in the Vatican Palace, which was decorated ca. 1580 for Pope Gregory XIII. It represents a biblical episode said to have occurred on the island of Malta, where St. Paul was stranded after a shipwreck en route to Rome. While throwing sticks into a bonfire the saint was bitten by a snake. He shook the viper off into the fire and remained miraculously unharmed. The islanders took this as a sign of his divinity.

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