Attributed to Francesco Morandini

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Attributed to Francesco Morandini
1544-1597
Group of Figures (Israelites Gathering Manna in the Wilderness?)
ca. 1570-1580
Red chalk, over black chalk, on paper.
10 1/8 x 7 5/16 inches (257 x 202 mm)
Gift of János Scholz.
1986.96
Provenance: 
Giovanni Piancastelli (according to Janos Scholz) (1845-1926), Rome (no mark; Lugt S. 2078a); Edward (1857-1933) and Mary Brandegee (1871-1956) (according to Janos Scholz), Boston (1904-1944; Lugt S. 1860c); art market, 1958 (according to János Scholz records); János Scholz, New York (no mark; see Lugt S. 2933b).
Description: 

Formerly considered to be by Rosso Fiorentino, the drawing was attributed to Francesco Morandini, called il Poppi, by Janet Cox-Rearick (unpublished opinion recorded in the curatorial file, 1958), independently by Eugene Caroll (unpublished opinion recorded in the curatorial file, 1959) and by Philip Pouncey (unpublished opinion recorded in the curatorial file, 1964). Among accepted drawings by Morandini, certain sketchy passages in a compositional study, now in the Louvre, present the closest comparison in handling and style to the present sheet.1

Nevertheless, the Morgan study differs from the great majority of the drawings by Poppi, such as the group preserved in the Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe degli Uffizi, in its exceptional freedom of handling. In 1959, an alternative attribution to Andrea Boscoli was proposed by Anna Forlani Tempesti, a suggestion which Julian Brooks considers worth entertaining (email with Morgan curators, 2001).2 A similar red chalk drawing attributed to Boscoli is now in the Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin.3

The drawing’s subject remains enigmatic. It might refer to a scene with Moses and the Israelites, possibly the Gathering of Manna, which would explain the action of the stooped figure in the foreground. The bearded figure in the background (second from right), bears a certain resemblance to Michelangelo’s sculpture of Moses in San Pietro in Vincoli, Rome; the similar figure to his left (from the viewer’s perspective) could be Aaron.

Footnotes:

  1. Louvre, Paris, inv. 9059; Monbeig Goguel 1972, no. 79.
  2. Florence 1959, 20, under no. 13.
  3. Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett, inv. KdZ 21446.
Bibliography: 

Selected references: Indianapolis 1954, no. 14 (as Rosso); Bloomington and Elsewhere 1958, no. 39 (as Rosso); Florence 1959, 20, under no. 13 (as Boscoli); Berenson 1961, 3: 531, no. 2448 F (as Rosso); Oakland and Berkeley 1961, no. 55 (as Poppi); Pouncey, 1964, 291 (as Poppi); Milwaukee 1964, no. 33 (as Rosso); Notre Dame and Binghampton, 1970, 78, D16 (as Poppi); Monbeig Goguel 1971; 109 (as Poppi); Monbeig Goguel 1972, 76, under no. 79 (as Poppi); Washington and New York 1973-74, no. 31 (as Poppi); Carroll 1976, 2: 499-500 (as Poppi); Florence 1986-87, 97, under no. 2.38 (as Poppi); Fellows Report 1989, 363 (as Poppi); Oberlin and elsewhere 1991-92, no. 38 (as Poppi).
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. 31, repr.
Ryskamp, Charles, ed. Twenty-First Report to the Fellows of the Pierpont Morgan Library, 1984-1986. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1989, p. 363.

Notes: 

Watermark: none.
Formerly attributed to Rosso Fiorentino, 1494-1540.

Associated names: 

Rosso Fiorentino, 1494-1540, Formerly attributed to.
Boscoli, Andrea, Formerly attributed to.
Piancastelli, Giovanni, 1845-1926, former owner.
Brandegee, Edward, former owner.
Brandegee, Mary, former owner.
Scholz, János, former owner.

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