Circle of Amico Aspertini

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Circle of Amico Aspertini
Classical Frieze with Satyrs, Putti and Other Figures
Pen and brown ink and wash, on paper; black chalk framing lines at top and bottom.
5 1/4 x 14 3/8 inches (132 x 365 mm)
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913) in 1909.
IV, 33

Inscribed on the tablet at lower left, in pen and brown ink, by the artist, "V F / Z M".

Adolphus Frederick, Duke of Cambridge (1774-1850), England (according to Fairfax Murray); Charles Fairfax Murray (1849-1919), London and Florence; from whom purchased through Galerie Alexandre Imbert, Rome, in 1909 by Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913), New York (no mark; see Lugt 1509); his son, J. P. Morgan, Jr. (1867-1943), New York.).

The drawing is by the same hand as inv. IV, 33a and the two may well once have formed part of a single long frieze, with IV, 33 at left, a central section now cut away, and IV, 33a lining up to the right. The drawings clearly relate to antique reliefs, probably from Roman sarcophagi. Either the sheets copy an as yet unidentified antique relief, or they are an artist’s imaginative restoration of a relief only preserved in small parts, which could account for the apparently nonsensical subject matter, or the subject could be an entirely free invention only inspired by antiquity.

In Fairfax Murray’s time the drawings were given to Bambaia (Busto Arsizio, ca. 1483 – 1548 Milan); in 1947 Philip Pouncey put forward the name of Baldassare Peruzzi; he later compared the drawing to reliefs preserved on the ground floor of Villa Farnesina, from ca. 1510. The style of the drawings is, however, closer to the work of Amico Aspertini, and if not by him, as Marzia Faietti maintains, certainly by an artist from his circle.


Meller 1960, 122, n. 3; Columbus 1961, no. 76; Rockford 1963, no. 6; Frommel 1968, 71, no. 25, XIIIa; Rockford 1963, no. 6; Dreyer and Winner 1964, 53-94.
Collection J. Pierpont Morgan : drawings by the old masters formed by C. Fairfax Murray. London : Privately printed, 1905-1912, IV, 33.


Watermark: none.
On same mat with IV, 33a.
Formerly attributed to Italian School, Lombard, 16th cent.
In Fairfax Murray's time the drawings were given to Bambaia, Busto Arsizio ca. 1483-1548 Milan.
Formerly attributed to Baldassare Peruzzi.

Associated names: 

Bambaia, 1483-1548, Formerly attributed to.
Peruzzi, Baldassarre, 1481-1536, Formerly attributed to.
Anonymous, Italian School, 16th cent., Formerly attributed to.
Adolphus Frederick, Prince, Duke of Cambridge, 1774-1850, former owner.
Murray, Charles Fairfax, 1849-1919, former owner.
Morgan, J. Pierpont (John Pierpont), 1837-1913, former owner.

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