Italian School

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Italian School
16th century
David and Jonathan. Verso: A Study of Crossed Hands and Three Studies of Left Hands
ca. 1590
Pen and brown ink, red wash, over black chalk.
6 1/8 x 8 1/8 inches (156 x 210 mm)
Bequest of Mrs. Ernest Ash.

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Inscribed at lower left, in graphite, "16". On verso, in brown ink, "Vorrei che tu mi scrivessi qual che"(trimmed).

Dr. Curt Glaser, former director of the Kunstbibliothek, Staatliche Museen Preussicher Kulturbesitz, Berlin; his widow, Maria Milch Glaser, later Mrs. Ernst Ash, New York.

As first noted by Jane Turner, the drawing on the recto is a copy – in the same direction – of the engraving David Kneels at the Feet of the Sorrowing Jonathan as they Part by Aegidius Sadeler.1 The engraving is from a series illustrating The Life of David, thought to have been made ca. 1588-90 by Sadeler after designs by Maarten de Vos. De Vos’s original drawing is part of an album in the Morgan’s collection, bound together with other designs for the series; it is in reverse to the engraving and to the present drawing.2 The Morgan copy omits nearly all of the landscape and minimizes other details such as the harp in the foreground.

A telling comparison between the engraving and the present drawing – for instance in the head of the kneeling David, which the present draftsman drastically abbreviated – suggests that the artist may have been from the entourage of Girolamo Muziano, though the decorative calligraphy and notations in the treatment of the figures are also reminiscent of the work of Francesco Allegrini. The studies on the verso appear to be unrelated to the design on the recto.


  1. Stampfle 1991, 112, no. 247. For the print, see Hollstein 1996, 44: 31-31, no. 101/II; Hollstein 1980 21: 8, no. 5. For the Old Testament narrative, see 1 Samuel 20:18-42.
  2. Morgan Library & Museum, New York, inv. 2006.23:15.

Selected references: Fellows Report 1984, 296-97; Stampfle 1991, 112, no. 247 (as copy after Maerten de Vos).
Stampfle, Felice, with the assistance of Ruth S. Kraemer and Jane Shoaf Turner. Netherlandish Drawings of the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries and Flemish Drawings of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries in the Pierpont Morgan Library. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1991, p. 112, no. 247.


Watermark: Fragment of a circle with a bird inside Watermark, beta radiograph. 145028wm_1981_39_WM_beta.tiff
Verso, probably by another hand: "Studies of Hands", in red chalk, a copy after Aegidius Sadeler (ca. 1555-ca. 1609).
Formerly attributed to Girolamo Muziano (1532-1592); Marten de Vos (1532-1603); Francesco Allegrini (ca. 1615-after 1679).
The drawing is a copy of the engraving by Aegidius Sadeler (ca. 1555-1609?) (Hollstein, XXI, p. 8, no. 5) after the design by De Vos for "The History of Saul and David". The original drawing by De Vos is bound together with his other designs for the series in the Jacobs album in the Library's collection.

Associated names: 

Muziano, Girolamo, 1532-1592, Formerly attributed to.
Vos, Maarten de, 1532-1603, Copy after, Formerly attributed to.
Allegrini, Francesco, approximately 1620-approximately 1679, Formerly attributed to.
Sadeler, Aegidius, approximately 1555-1609?, engraver.
Glaser, Curt, 1879-1943, former owner.
Ash, Ernest, Mrs. former owner.

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