Inscribed on verso of lining, in pen and brown ink, "Cav Bernini [stricken through] / Cherubino Alberti nella Sala Clementina al Vaticano"; in graphite, "Tafel 26 / Coll. H. Voss / published: Die Spätren. in Rom u. Florenz / Die Zeich der Spätren / N.Y. 1956 (Komor)".
The putto in the drawing is seated on a globe decorated with short-hand notations of the stars and the diagonal band which constitute the Aldobrandini coat of arms. In all likelihood, the drawing is an early study for the decoration of the Sala Clementina in the Vatican Palace, executed ca. 1596-98 by the brothers Cherubino and Giovanni (1558-1601) Alberti for Pope Clement VIII Aldobrandini. This feat of illusionistic painting, prefiguring the Baroque, is considered their most important work.
Variants of this drawn design were used for the northeast and southwest corners of the fresco. In the former a putto, his head almost completely disappearing in the papal tiara, stands atop the Aldobrandini coat of arms, supported by two male figures, seated on a fictive cornice. In the second, the coat of arms is supported by standing putti. The female allegorical figures of the drawing occur in the fresco as female figures standing on the cornice.
Numerous preparatory studies by Cherubino and Giovanni for the Sala Clementina are known, one at the Istituto Nazionale per la Grafica in Rome (Rome 1983-84, nos. 20-32), and also the Reclining Male Nude Holding the Raguly Band form the Aldobrandini Coat of Arms in the Philadelphia Museum of Art (inv. no. 1977-271-1). Comparable in style is a drawing of the Virgin in Glory supported by Putti in the Louvre, given to Cherubino by Pouncey but later published by Françoise Viatte as by Giovanni Alberti on the basis of a comparison to a drawing given by Hermann-Fiore to the latter (inv. 12598; Viatte 1988, no. 4).
Voss 1929, 47, no. 26; Hamburg and Cologne 1963-64, no. 47; New York 1965-66, 78, no. 142; Washington and New York 1973-74, 21 no. 15; Amherst 1974, no. 3.
Stampfle, Felice, and Jacob Bean. Drawings from New York collections. I: The Italian Renaissance. New York : Metropolitan Museum of Art : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1965, p. 78, no. 142.
Oberhuber, Konrad, and Dean Walker. Sixteenth Century Italian Drawings From the Collection of János Scholz. Washington, D.C. : National Gallery of Art ; New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1973, no. 15, repr. (as Giovanni Alberti)
Ryskamp, Charles, ed. Nineteenth Report to the Fellows of the Pierpont Morgan Library, 1978-1980. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1981, p. 173.
Voss, Hermann, 1884-1969, former owner.
Komor, Mark, former owner.
Scholz, János, former owner.