Inscribed on old mount, at center, beneath the drawing, in pen and brown ink, "Titiano da Cadore"; at lower right, in graphite, probably by Goldstein, "sp[ring] 1923. Kxxx/Axx./Coll. R.C. Jackson. London"; on verso of mount, at upper left, in pen and brown ink, "153"; to the right of this in a different hand, in pen and brown ink, "B No6"; beneath this, in a different hand, in pen and brown ink, "S. 31"; on verso of lining at upper left, in brown ink, "Titiano"; above this in red chalk, "N.o 148"; in pencil center, "17/12"; on verso of mount, lower left, in pencil, "Mr. Koch".
A quintessential Venetian drawing, and especially one by Titian, is usually defined by soft, dark, velvety lines in black chalk or charcoal on blue paper, embellished with luminous white highlights. There was also, however, a trend for tightly handled pen-and-ink landscapes (see also I, 59 and IV, 64), including the present example, part of a small number of such works that have come to be associated with Titian himself. Foremost among these is the Landscape with Roger and Angelica in the Musée Bonnat, Bayonne, which was engraved with some variations in 1565 by Cornelis Cort.1 Others include the Getty’s Landscape with a Naked Woman Covering Her Head with a Cloth,2 the Landscape with a Galloping Horse at Chatsworth,3 and the Landscape with St. Eustace in the British Museum, which, unlike the others, is usually dated to Titian’s early years.4 The Bayonne, Getty, and Morgan studies, on the other hand, are thought to have been made later in Titian’s career, when the master was manifestly concerned with selecting and making drawings for prints to ensure the spread of his fame.
The early-seventeenth-century biographer Carlo Ridolfi tells of Cort coming to Venice, being taken into the home of Titian, and making engravings of at least six of Titian’s compositions.5 The Morgan study, like the Bayonne drawing, may well have been conceived by Titian with a print in mind, and indeed it served as the model for an undated etching that reverses the composition (Morgan Library & Museum, 1981.9). Pierre-Jean Mariette and Karl Heinrich von Heinecken thought that the print had been etched by Titian himself, an idea accepted by no modern scholar. Nagler attributed the etching to Battista Angolo del Moro, possibly because the second state bears the address of the print publisher and seller Giovanni Francesco Camocio, active in Venice from 1552 to 1574/75, who published several other prints by del Moro.6
Writing in the late eighteenth century, Heinecken claimed that Camocio published fifteen prints after Titian, but because these prints did not bear the name of the artist who invented the composition, this is not verifiable.7 In fact, it appears that the present work would be the only print definitively linking Camocio and Titian.8 Unlike Cort’s print after the Bayonne drawing, which bears Titian’s signature and was published by the artist himself, this etching does not include any reference to the master and may not have been made on his initiative.9 If in this case Titian was experimenting with having his drawings etched rather than engraved, it is conceivable that the mediocre quality of the result caused him to abandon the project. Drawn copies after the etching in Princeton and Weimar suggest that nonetheless there were several impressions in circulation.10
Titian was not an artist prone to copying others or repeating himself, but a few motifs from his paintings do recur in his late landscape studies. This drawing depicts St. Theodore, one of the patron saints of Venice, subduing a dragon,11 but the figure of Theodore corresponds closely with that of Actaeon in Titian’s painting Diana and Actaeon (ca. 1556–59) in the National Gallery, London.12 Actaeon’s gesture of surprise works equally well for St. Theodore pacifying the dragon while holding his lance. Whereas Actaeon’s legs have a stronger forward impetus, Theodore seems to be holding back, gingerly pushing forward his slightly straighter right leg, as if wary of the danger posed by the beast before him. Interestingly, infrared imaging of the Titian painting of Diana and Actaeon has revealed an underdrawing of what appears to be a long javelin held in Actaeon’s raised left hand, demonstrating an even stronger correspondence between the two postures with its resemblance to St. Theodore’s lance.13 An examination by conservator Margaret Holben Ellis showed that for the figure of St. Theodore the original drawing in fine brown ink was reinforced with a denser, darker ink, though it is not clear whether this was a reworking by the artist himself or by a later owner of the sheet.14
As witnessed by the old inscription on the mount, the drawing has traditionally been given to Titian. The correspondence of the figures of Actaeon and St. Theodore, however, has led some critics to suggest that the drawing is instead a derivation by an artist who had access to Titian’s workshop.15 This seems unlikely, not only in light of the quality of the drawing and its similarity to other late landscape studies by Titian but also because of other instances in which Titian reused his figures. The recumbent pose of Angelica in the Bayonne drawing, for instance, is almost identical to that of Venus in the painting of Venus and Cupid with a Lute Player in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, generally dated to between 1555 and 1565.16 On 22 September 1559 Titian wrote to his patron, King Philip of Spain, with the news that he was delivering the painting of Actaeon and Diana, begun in 1556, with its pendant Callisto.17 Seen together, the London painting, the Bayonne drawing, and its related print published in 1565 suggest a similar date of the late 1550s or early 1560s for the Morgan drawing.
- Musée Bonnat, Bayonne, inv. 652. See Wethey 1969–75, 3: no. 25. The print is lettered 1565 and Titianus; see Bury 2001, no. 54.
- J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, inv. 85.GG.98. See Chiari Moretto Wiel 1989, fig. 34.
- Devonshire Collection, Chatsworth, inv. 751. See Chiari Moretto Wiel 1989, fig. 33.
- British Museum, London, inv. 1895,0915.818. See Chiari Moretto Wiel 1989, fig. 18.
- Ridolfi 1914–24, 1:202; Bury 2001, no. 54.
- The Morgan impression is of this second state, for which see Bartsch 16: no. 5, 575. Maria Agnese Chiari Moretto Wiel in Belluno and Pieve di Cadore 2007–8, no. 93, identified it as by Battista del Moro, echoing Muraro in Venice 1957, 21, but she mentions alternate attributions to an anonymous artist or to Battista’s son Marco del Moro, which was first put forward by Catelli Isola in Rome 1976–77. For Camocio, see Cosimo Palagiano in DBI 1960–, 17:1974, and Bury 2001, 223. Chiari Moretto Wiel 1982, 59–66, lists prints after Titian attributed to del Moro, but none are identified as such by lettering or documentation.
- Heinecken 1778–90, 3:542–44.
- See Chiari Moretto Wiel 1982, passim; no others listed.
- I am grateful to Michael Bury for highlighting this distinction.
- Princeton University Art Museum, inv. 47-171. See Gibbons 1977, no. 698. Graphische Sammlung, Weimar, inv. kk 8865. See Fischer Pace 2008, no. 740, as copy after Titian; Weimar and elsewhere 1999–2000, no. 10.
- Over time, the legend of St. Theodore incorporated features of the life of St. George, such as the encounter with a dragon. Unlike St. George, however, St. Theodore made the beast roll over in submission, as depicted here, rather than slaying it; see De Grummond 1972, 24.
- National Gallery, London. Wethey 1969–75, 3: fig. 142.
- See “Titian’s Heroes: A Forensic Analysis Detail of a Titian Drawing Under Normal Light” online at https://www.themorgan.org/blog/titiansheroes-forensic-analysis-detail-ti..., accessed 14 February 2016, and Ellis and Spaulding 2008, 226–39.
- Ellis and Spaulding 2008, 226–39.
- The name of Domenico Campagnola was put forward by Pignatti 1957, 386, and, even less plausibly, that of Battista del Moro by Rearick 1991, 21, who saw a great similarity with “well-established pen sketches by del Moro” and dated it 1560–65, following Châtelet’s suggestion. This only muddies the water—there is no firm evidence linking the St. Theodore etching to del Moro, and there are few secure drawings by del Moro linked to known works by his hand. For drawings with some claim to being by del Moro, see British Museum, London, inv. 1946,0713.378 and 1895,0915.796 (the latter inscribed by Zomer, Marci. Batis. del Mcro Veron). Rearick 2001, 146–48 and 223n212, reiterates the attribution to del Moro and further emphasizes that the drawing “has nothing of the magisterial control” of the Bayonne sheet.
- Those scholars who consider the British Museum drawing of the viola da gamba player and nude woman playing a lute as by Titian (inv. 1895,0915.817; see No. 63, Fig. 2) should also consider that the female figure of the London drawing is lifted from the painting Pastoral Concert in the Musée du Louvre, Paris, variously attributed to Titian or Giorgione.
- Crowe and Cavalcaselle 1877, 2:278–81, 515–17.
Rhoda Eitel-Porter and and John Marciari, Italian Renaissance Drawings at the Morgan Library & Museum, New York, 2019, no. 68.
Selected references: Tietze and Tietze-Conrat 1944, no. 2013; Pignatti 1957, 386; Venice 1957, no. 17; Bloomington and elsewhere 1958, no. 40; Châtelet 1958, 193; Oakland and San Francisco 1959, no. 74; Hagerstown 1960-61, no. 11; Staten Island 1961, no. 11; Cologne 1963-64, no. 164; New Haven 1964, no. 52; Durham 1965, no. 25; Colorado Springs 1967, no. 4; London and elsewhere 1968, no. 102; Middletown 1969, no. 17; New York 1971, no. 91; De Grummond 1972, 24; Washington and New York 1973-74, no. 93; Montgomery 1976, no. 10; Scholz 1976, no. 32; Venice 1976a, no. 44; Gibbons 1977, 1: under 698; Fellows Report 8 1978, 294; Meder 1978, 376, no. 103; Muraro 1978, 138-39; Pignatti 1979, no. 50; Byam Shaw 1980, 387; Notre Dame 1980, no. 140; Wethey 1987, no. 49; Goldner 1988, under no. 51; Chiari Moretto Wiel 1989, no. 32; Rearick 1991, 20-22; Weimar and elsewhere 1999-2000, under no. 10; Rearick 2001, 148, 223n212; Belluno and Pieve di Cadore 2007-8, no. 92; Ellis and Spaulding 2008.
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, no. 93, repr. (includes previous bibliography and exhibitions)
János Scholz, Italian Master Drawings, 1350-1800, from the János Scholz Collection, New York, 1976, no. 32, repr.
Old Master Drawings from American Collections, exhibition catalogue by Ebria Feinblatt, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, 1976, no. 43, repr.
Ryskamp, Charles, ed. Eighteenth Report to the Fellows of the Pierpont Morgan Library, 1975-1977. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1978, p. 294.
Watermark: None on drawing. Lining has Arms of Amsterdam.
Engraved by Angolo dal Moro, ca. 1560.
Sylvester, Peter, -1718, former owner.
Berthault, Pierre Gabriel, 1737-1831, former owner.
Jackson, Richard C. (Richard Charles), 1851-1923, former owner.
Goldstein, Max A. (Max Aaron), 1870-1941, former owner.
Scholz, János, former owner.