Gherardo Cibo

Gherardo Cibo
1512-1600
Libro 26
1576-1584
Pen and violet and brown ink on paper; some with blue wash.
Folio: 5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches (141 x 209 mm; maximum dimensions)
Purchased as the gift of the Fellows.
1969.16
Inscription: 

Inscribed on cover: Libro Fatto de Meriore li 5 de. re 9 [re above 9] 1578: Lib. 26". Various inscriptions throughout.
Watermark: fragmentary mark, in a circle (fragment, at top center; according to Elen 1995, a small french lily in a circle: folio 50; six-pointed star within an four-pointed star, in a circle (fragment, at top center): folios 51, 52, 53, 54, 59, 60, 61, 62; fleur-de-lis, pointing down, in a circle (fragment, at top center): folios 68, 70, 73, 78; fragmentary mark, in a circle: folio 71 (according to Elen 1995, same as folios 68, 70 etc.: it is either bottom of fleur-de-lis or a different watermark).
Watermark: folio 59. Shapes inside circle, fragment of six-pointed star with a four-pointed star enclosed in a circle.
Watermark: folio 61. Six-pointed star with a four-pointed star inside circle, fragment.
Watermark: folio 69v. Fleur-de-lis inside circle, fragment.
Watermark: folio 70. Fleur-de-lis inside circle, fragment.
Watermark: folio 71. Fleur-de-lis inside circle, fragment.

Provenance: 
Rafael Valls, London; P. & D. Colnaghi and Co., London, from whom purchased as the Gift of the Fellows in 1969.
Description: 

This sketchbook contains thirty-one drawings by the artist and botanist Gherardo Cibo (1512–1600). Born in Genoa to Aranino and Bianca Vigeri Della Rovere, and great-grandson of Pope Innocent VII, Gherardo Cibo spent much of his career in Rome and Bologna, developing his skills as a draftsman while pursuing a passion for botany under the guidance of Luca Ghini. Following travels in Germany, Pisa, Marches, and Umbria from 1532–1539, including a two-year stay at the court of Charles V, and building upon his erudite studies of plants and their landscapes, Cibo established his own herbarium in Rome. His extensive study of the natural world informs the carefully rendered studies captured in the sketchbook’s folios.

The drawings are in pen with violet and brown ink, also occasionally including a blue wash. They depict idyllic homes and villages amid their natural landscapes, as well as some of Cibo’s geological and botanical studies. In the early pages of this sketchbook, three rock studies reflect a careful articulation of planar surfaces, while later folios present quick, graphic line-work in the depiction of plants and simple landscapes. Similarly, the sketchbook’s architectural studies are equally varied, ranging from single structures among rolling hills and trees to complex drawings of entire villages from an elevated vantage point. The manuscript consists of a modern yellow cover containing two gatherings from separate sketchbooks that have long been stitched together. The pages are numbered 50-66 and 68-79 in the upper right corner of the recto, in pen and brown ink. The first gathering, folios 50-66, contains a title page inscribed Lib.ro 26 and 19 drawings, dated by the artist from November 1578 to June 1579. Two consecutive folios are numbered 66; folio 65 has been torn out, leaving a small strip of paper at the binding; and folios 50 and 66b (folded sheet), respectively, constitute the front and back “covers”. The second gathering, folios 68-79, comprises 12 drawings, dated by the artist May to December 1576 and 2 May 1584. What presumably once was its title page, folio 67, has been removed, as have folios 72 and 77. Folio 79 is blank.

See digital facsimile

Bibliography: 

London 1971(b), no. 2; Elen 1995, 378-380.
Ryskamp, Charles, ed. Sixteenth Report to the Fellows of the Pierpont Morgan Library, 1969-1971. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1973, p. 91-94, 121 (attributed to Severino da Cingoli)

Notes: 

Manuscript consisting of 27 folios with 31 drawings of landscapes, trees, fruits and flowers, representing two gatherings from separate sketchbooks that have been stitched together in a modern yellow cover. The first gathering, folios 50-66, contains a title page and 19 drawings, dated by the artist from November 1578 to June 1579. The second gathering, folios 68-79, comprises 12 drawings, dated by the artist May to December 1576 and 2 May 1584.
Numbered in pen and brown ink on recto at upper right from 50 to 79, skipping 65 and 72 (two folios numbered 66; 67 is not numbered); folio 79 is blank.

Associated names: 

Valls, Rafael, former owner.

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