Watermark: Bird in circle, centered on chain line.
Formerly attributed to Palma Giovane and then to Alessandro Maganza, this drawing is typical of the strong cross-hatching found in drawings by Andrea Michieli, known as Andrea Vicentino. A pen and ink drawing given to il Vicentino of a Doge and his entourage in Venice before a ruler in the collection of the Kobberstiksamling in Copenhagen is almost as sketchy as the Morgan Library sheet (Mag. IIB/47). Compare also the compositional study attributed to il Vicentino in the Musée Wicar, Lille (inv. Pl. 124; Brejon de Lavergnée 1997, no. 682).
Two related studies are known. A drawing by the same hand and for the same subject, formerly belonging to Victor Bloch, was sold at Sotheby' in 1964 as Alessandro Maganza (Paris, Christie's, 18 March 2004, lot 14; Bloch sale, London, Sotheby's, 12 February 1964, lot 123, bought by Brod; with an attribution: Sc. Palma; on verso: S.G. n:o 69). The same sheet was sold in 1977, again under the name of Alessandro Maganza ("A Pope Granting a Monk an Audience"; London, Sotheby's, 4 July 1977, lot 41). A further study, on tinted paper and far more finished with brown and blue-gray wash and white heightening added to the pen, is in the Louvre, inv. 5076.
The composition is a free adaptation of the painting Pope Honorius III giving the Rule to Saint Francis by Giacomo Palma in the church of the Frari in Venice and seems to represent a similar scene, such as the approbation of a rule, with a monk, presenting a book to a pope. A painting by Vicentino in that same church depicting Saint Francis adoring the Virgin, includes a background scene of Saint Francis kneeling before a pope viewed through an arch, but the Louvre drawing suggests that the kneeling figure is not St. Francis, and the sheets are thus probably not connected with this vignette. Another similar composition is found in a painting for the sacristy of Saints Giovanni e Paolo, signed by Vicentino and dated 1606, representing Doge Jacopo Tiepolo granting the Dominicans land on which to build the church and convent, but the seated figure in the drawings is clearly a pope rather than a doge. It is conceivable that the drawings were made for some unrealized project, but then reused for the paintings above.
Palma, il Giovane, 1544-1628, Formerly attributed to.
Maganza, Alessandro, 1556-approximately 1630, Formerly attributed to.
Moscardo family, former owner.
Calceolari, marquis de, former owner.
Scholz, János, former owner.