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Cardinal Aenes Sylvius Piccolomini Presents Eleanor of Portugal to Emperor Frederick III

Inscribed, possibly by the artist, near upper edge, left of center, in pen and brown ink, Questa e la quinta [st]oria de Papa [Pio].

ca. 1502-3
Pen and brown ink, brown wash, heightened with white gouache (partially lost and retouched), over black chalk and stylus indentations. Substantial losses and severely abraded.
20 7/8 x 15 3/8 inches (531 x 392 mm)

Bequest of Miss Alice Tully

Item description: 

This large-scale finished compositional study, or modello, is preparatory for one of the series of ten frescoes by Bernardo Pinturicchio commissioned by the archbishop of Siena, Cardinal Francesco Todeschini Piccolomini in 1502 for the library adjacent to Siena cathedral. The frescoes illustrate events from the life of the cardinal's distinguished uncle, Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini, who reigned as Pope Pius II. Three further drawings by the young Raphael attest to his substantial involvement in the designs for the Piccolomini cycle.