Attributed to Alessandro Vellutello

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Attributed to Alessandro Vellutello
Series of 20 drawings, illustrating the "Inferno" and "Purgatorio" of Dante's "Divina Commedia"
Pen and brown ink on paper.
Each: approx. 8 1/8 x 11 inches (207 x 280 mm)
Gift of Mr. H.P. Kraus.
J. I. Davis, London; H. P. Kraus (1907-1988), Vienna and New York, by whom presented to the Pierpont Morgan Library in 1966.

The first illustrated printed edition of Dante’s Divine Commedy, with illustrations related to designs by Botticelli, appeared in 1481, and later Federico Zuccaro and Stradanus would produce important depictions of the story later in the sixteenth century. The present set of drawings, by an artist of more modest talents, has recently been published by Rhoda Eitel-Porter (2019), who proposes that they were drawn by the Dante commentator Alessandro Vellutello (b. 1473) in connection with the publication of his La Comedia di Dante (published by Francesco Marcolini in Venice, 1544; the woodcuts were reused in the Sessa editions of 1578 and 1596). Earlier commentators on the publication had suggested that Vellutello supplied drawings of some type the artist responsible for the printed woodcuts, who was probably Giovanni Britto, and Eitel-Porter makes the compelling case that these are those drawings.


Rhoda Eitel-Porter, "Drawings for the Woodcut Illustrations to Alessandro Vellutello's 1544 Commentary on Dante's Comedia", Print Quarterly, XXXVI, March 2019, pp. 3-17
Matthew Collins, "The Forgotten Morgan Dante Drawings, Their Influence on the Marcolini Commedia of 1544, and Their Place within a Visually-Driven Discourse on Dante's Poem," Dante Studies 136 (2018): 93-132.
Lamberto Donati, "Commento ad una serie di disegni del XVI secolo illustranti la Divina Commedia", La Bibliofilia, LXV, 1963, fig. 1.
Adams, Frederick B., Jr., ed. Fifteenth Report to the Fellows of the Pierpont Morgan Library, 1967 & 1968. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1969, p. 91-92.
Pierpont Morgan Library. Review of Acquisitions, 1949-1968. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1969, p. 150.


Watermark: in drawings 7 and 9 a watermark is visible (upper part of a shield, with a star), and in the paper of no. 3 what presumably is the lower part of this same mark is visible (lower part of shield, with letter "M"). The combined mark closely resembles Briquet no. 8390 (Florence, 1529).
Formerly attributed to Italian School, 16th cent.

Associated names: 

Anonymous, Italian School, 16th cent., Formerly attributed to.
Davis, J. Irving, 1889-1967, former owner.
Kraus, Hans Peter, 1907-1988, former owner.
Dante Alighieri, 1265-1321. Divina Commedia.