Inscribed on verso in graphite, "1678; Sir Chas. Greville."
The drawing is a finished modello by Parmigianino for an unsigned chiaroscuro woodcut traditionally attributed to Ugo da Carpi.1 At left, Apollo plays a viola instead of the lyre with which he is typically associated. Apollo’s pose is loosely dependent on the famous ancient sculpture of the Apollo Belvedere, which was installed in 1503 in the Belvedere courtyard of the Vatican Palace.2 The seated figure, at right, likely represents the satyr Marsyas. Ovid, Apollodorus, and Hyginus tell the story of his hubris in challenging Apollo to a musical contest, and how on losing, Marsyas was flayed alive. Marsyas is usually represented in completely human form except for his pointed ears, and sometimes a short tail.
The sheet is one of a series of drawings by Parmigianino illustrating the legend of Apollo and Marsyas as narrated by Hyginus, a Roman scholar and friend of Ovid’s.3 This surviving group includes another five finished studies in oval frames, now in the Louvre, which – like the Morgan sheet – were once in the collection of Everhard Jabach.4 Before the connection with the other drawings was recognized, the satyr in the Morgan sheet was occasionally identified as the faun Pan, who lost to Apollo in a similar context while playing the syrinx or reed pipes.
Parmigianino made several designs for chiaroscuro woodcuts during his sojourn in Bologna after having fled Rome during the sack of the city in 1527. An impression of the second state of Ugo da Carpi’s woodcut is kept with the drawing at the Morgan. There is a large finished copy of the present drawing by Andrea Schiavone, which is now also in the Morgan’s collection.5
- The Illustrated Bartsch, 12: 123-24, no. 24.
- Bober and Rubinstein 1986, 71-72, no. 28.
- Gnann 2007, 1: 447-49, nos. 606-16
- Louvre, Paris, inv. 6412, 6412bis, 6413, 6415, 6433.
- Morgan Library & Museum, New York, inv. 1979.59.
Selected references: Duval 1829, 3: plate 174; Fairfax Murray 1905-12, 4: no. 44; Popham 1950, 284, under no. 597; Philadelphia 1950-51, no. 40; Wiles 1966, 99-100; Stockholm 1970, 32, no. 35; Popham 1971, 1: 124, no. 319; Trotter 1974, 228; Palo Alto 1980-81, 40, under no. 74; New York 1981, no. 21; Olszewski 1981, 130-31; Saslow 1986, 111; Birke and Kertész 1995, under no. 2665; Wyss 1996, 100-07, 149; Paris 1999-2000, 458, no. 558; London and New York 2000-01, 123, no. 78; Gnann 2001, 234, no. 78; Rome and Weimar 2001, nos. 8, 68; Gnann 2002, 296, note 12; Py 2002, 178, no. 739; Matteo Burioni, in Nova 2006, 52, 78; Zecher 2007, 61-6; Gnann 2007, 448, no. 612.
Collection J. Pierpont Morgan : Drawings by the Old Masters Formed by C. Fairfax Murray. London : Privately printed, 1905-1912, IV, 44, repr.
Finished modello for chiaroscuro woodcut attributed to Ugo da Carpi.
Arundel, Thomas Howard, Earl of, 1585-1646, former owner.
Stafford, Henry Stafford Howard, Earl of, approximately 1648-approximately 1719, former owner.
Zanetti, Antonio Maria, 1680-1757, former owner.
Jabach, Everhard, 1618-1695, former owner.
Jabach, Gerhard Michael, -1753, former owner.
Walraven, Izaak, 1686-1765, former owner.
McGowan, John, -1804, former owner.
Rutgers, A., 1695-1778, former owner.
McGouan, John, former owner.
Denon, Vivant, 1747-1825, former owner.
Greville, Charles, 1762-1832, former owner.
Warwick, George Guy Greville, Earl of, 1818-1893, former owner.
Murray, Charles Fairfax, 1849-1919, former owner.
Morgan, J. Pierpont (John Pierpont), 1837-1913, former owner.
Morgan, J. P. (John Pierpont), 1867-1943, former owner.