Nicolò dell' Abate

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Nicolò dell' Abate
approximately 1509-1571
Half-Length Figure of a Woman, Wearing a Balzo, accompanied by a Monkey
Black chalk on paper.
5 1/8 x 4 3/8 inches (131 x 112 mm)
Gift of János Scholz.
1993.234
Inscription: 
Inscribed on verso of mount, in pen and brown ink: Barnard's monogramme / DIX[symbol] / Nathaniel Smith monogramme / Barnard Sale / 1787.
Provenance: 
Jonathan Richardson, Sr. (1667-1745), London (Lugt 2183); John Barnard (d. 1784), London (Lugt 1419) ; Nathaniel Smith (Lugt 2297); Rech, Vienna (according to Janos Scholz); purchased in Zurich in 1953 by Janos Scholz (1903-1993), New York (Lugt Suppl. 2933b).
Description: 

The study of a young woman in three-quarter view in elegant dress, caressing a small pet monkey with her left hand, is one of few known portrait drawings by the artist. It most likely dates from the artist’s Bolognese period (1547-52), as witnessed by the strong influence of Parmigianino’s work.

Painted portraits by dell’Abate are also rare. They include the Half-length Portrait of a Woman in the Galleria Borghese, Rome, which may well be related to the present drawing, given the correspondences in the sitter’s pose, balzo headdress, puffed sleeves, and pendant pearl earring 1. The Borghese painting does not include a monkey, though the canvas may well have been trimmed along the lower and right edges. A portrait of a young woman by Niccolo dell’Abate in the Prado, Madrid, is also comparable, though yhere the sitter is more frontally posed and rests her right hand on a glove lying on a ledge.

Footnotes:

  1. Inv. 77; oil on vellum, 48 x 37 cm; Sylvie M. Béguin, Mostra di Nicolò dell´Abate. Catalogo critico, exh. cat., Palazzo dell’Archiginnasio, Bologna, 1969, no. 23.
Bibliography: 

Oakland and Elsewhere 1956, no 1; Cologne 1963-64, no. 1; New Haven 1964, no. 19; Bologna 1969, no. 46; Washington and New York 1973-74, no. 47; Modena 2015, 354, no. 137.
Drawings from Lombardy and Adjacent Areas 1480-1620, exh. cat., Mills College Art Gallery, Oakland; Los Angeles County Museum, Los Angeles; H.M. DeYoung Museum, San Francisco; Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara; and Seattle Museum of Art, Seattle, 1956, no. 1 repr. (Abate).
Italienische Meisterzeichnungen vom 14. bis zum 18. Jahrhundert aus amerikanischem Besitz: Die Sammlung János Scholz, New York, exh. cat., Kunsthalle, Hamburg, and Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Cologne, 1963-64, no. 1.
Italian Drawings from the Collection of János Scholz, exh. cat. with preface by Andrew C. Ritchie and Egbert Haverkamp-Begemann, Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, 1964, (n.p.), no. 19.
Sylvie M. Béguin, Mostra di Nicolò dell'Abate. Catalogo critico, exh. cat., Palazzo dell'Archiginnasio, Bologna, 1969, no. 46, repr.
Konrad Oberhuber and Dean Walker, Sixteenth Century Italian Drawings From the Collection of János Scholz, exh. cat., National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., and The Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, 1973-1974, pp. 57-59, no. 47, repr.
Cristiana Garofalo in: Storie dipinte: Nicolò dell'Abate e la pittura del Cinquecento tra Modena e Parigi, exh. cat., Museo Civico d'Arte, Modena, 2005, p. 354, no. 137, repr. in color.

Notes: 

Watermark: none visible through lining.
The study of a young woman in three-quarter view in elegant dress, caressing a small pet monkey with her left hand, is one of few known portrait drawings by the artist. It most likely dates from the artist's Bolognese period (1547-52), as witnessed by the strong influence of Parmigianino's work.

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