Attributed to Perino del Vaga

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Attributed to Perino del Vaga
1500 or 1501-1547
The Crucified Christ
ca. 1520-1525
Red chalk on paper; fragment of a framing line in pen and brown ink at upper right.
14 7/16 x 11 3/16 inches (365 x 279 mm)
Gift of Otto Manley.

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Inscribed at upper right, in pen and brown ink, "Il- Parmenganino"; on verso, in graphite, "23. Parmes[mostly eradicated] / Slg [ie Sammlung] Max von Heyl zu Herrnsheim / " [ie. Sammlung] Prinz Johann Georg von Sachsen".

Prince Johann Georg of Saxony (see Lugt 1162c); Max von Heyl zu Herrnsheim (Lugt 2879, in purple); Otto Manley, New York.

The lithe, elongated proportions of the figure probably lie at the origin of the drawing’s former attribution to Parmigianino recorded in the old inscription. By the time the drawing entered the collection, it was given to Girolamo Muziano.1 A possible attribution to Perino del Vaga, first tentatively suggested by Konrad Oberbuber (unpublished opinion recorded in curatorial file, 1975 and 1979) and mooted in the 1981 exhibition catalog, was taken up by Linda Wolk-Simon in 1994.2 She compared the Morgan sheet to a small group of drawings relating to Perino del Vaga’s now largely destroyed Deposition of Christ from Santa Maria sopra Minerva. These include two similar studies in red chalk after the live model, one an early figure study in the Louvre for the dead Christ, the other a study for an arm in the Uffizi.3 All the studies must have been drawn between 1520 when the painting was begun, and 1522, when it was completed. A further study in red chalk from the male nude, in the Uffizi, which is preparatory to the figure of a Kneeling Prisoner in Perino’s fresco of the Martyrdom of the Ten Thousand, conceived in 1522 to 1523 should also be cited.4 In common with the Morgan sheet are a hard, continuous contour line and a concern for the solid, sculptural modelling of forms. The proposed attribution has been generally accepted and hence the drawing is thought to date from the early 1520s.

The purpose of the Morgan Library drawing remains unknown. Wolk-Simon notes that Perino designed a Crucifixion fresco, which was in great part executed by Polidoro da Caravaggio around 1522, in the Chapel of the Passion in Santa Maria della Pietà in Camposanto Teutonico, Vatican.5 Another possibility, mentioned by Wolk-Simon, is that it is a discarded design for the Chapel of the Crucifix in San Marcello al Corso, Rome, where Perino worked in mid-1520s. A dismantled polyptych in the church of San Michele, Celle Ligure (Savona), executed later, in 1535, also contains the figure of a crucified Christ.6


  1. The attribution to Muziano was first made by Philip Pouncey. See Fellows Report 1978, 279.
  2. New York 1981, 43, no. 15; Wolk-Simon, in New York 1994, 70-72, no. 64.
  3. Louvre, Paris, inv. 631; Uffizi, Florence, inv. 13486F
  4. Florence, Uffizi, inv. 8796F.
  5. For which see also Perino’s design in pen and ink for the chapel wall; J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, inv. 94.GA.47.
  6. See Mantua 2001, 138, fig. 37.

Selected references: Fellows Report 1978, 279 (as attributed to Girolamo Muziano); New York 1979, 31, no. IV; New York 1981, 43, no. 15 (as Florentine school, first quarter of sixteenth century); Costamagna, in Modena and Rennes 1990, under no. 14 (as Francesco Granacci); Wolk-Simon, in New York 1994, 70-72, no. 64 (as Perino del Vaga); Van der Sman 1999,167 (as attributed to Perino del Vaga); Parma, in Mantua 2001, 131 (as Perino del Vaga); New York 2019, 57 (as attributed to Perino del Vaga).
Ryskamp, Charles, ed. Eighteenth Report to the Fellows of the Pierpont Morgan Library, 1975-1977. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1978, p. 279.
Stampfle, Felice. Rubens and Rembrandt in Their Century : Flemish and Dutch Drawings of the Seventeenth Century from The Pierpont Morgan Library. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1979, IV, 31.
New York, 1981, p. 43, no. 15.


Watermark: none.
Attributed to Perino del Vaga, 1501-1547.
The attribution to Muziano is owed to Philip Pouncey.

Associated names: 

Parmigianino, 1503-1540, Formerly attributed to.
Muziano, Girolamo, 1532-1592, Formerly attributed to.
Johann Georg, Prince of Saxony, 1869-1938, former owner.
Heyl zu Herrnsheim, Maximilian von, former owner.
Manley, Otto, -1989, former owner.

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