Italian School

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Italian School
16th century
Design for a Ceiling with Musicians in the Lunettes and a Central Oblong Panel with an Escutcheon; Alternate Study for Central Oblong Panel
ca. 1538-1547
Pen and dark brown ink on paper; with red chalk smudges.
4 1/8 x 4 7/8 inches (105 x 125 mm)
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913) in 1909.
II, 29a

Inscribed near left edge, when turned through 90 degrees to the right, in pen and brown ink, "Tridenti".

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.

One of a group of drawings by the same hand, once part of the Casare da Sesto album, but not by him.1 The sheets contain several studies for wall and ceiling decorations, particularly grotesques. The sketches appear to be aide-mémoires, which are labeled with their city of origin (Florence, Rome, Genoa, Cremona, and Trent). The present sheet is labeled “Tridenti” and derives from a ceiling fresco by Dosso and Battista Dossi in the Castel del Buonconsiglio, Trent. Documents show that the ceiling fresco was begun in 1531 and completed in 1532, thus providing a terminus post quem for the Morgan drawing.2 The draftsman recorded only a general impression of the ceiling program, without concern for documenting specific details – the poses and number of flying putti differ, the architectural ornament has been left out, and the attributes of the figures in the lunettes have been hastily sketched or omitted altogether.


  1. Morgan Library & Museum, New York, inv. II, 26a, 27a, 28a.
  2. Trent 2014, 276-79, no. 53.

Watermark: none.
One of thirty four 16th century Italian drawings formerly mounted in a nineteenth-century album, the Cesare da Sesto Album.This drawing was folio 29.

Associated names: 

Murray, Charles Fairfax, 1849-1919, former owner.
Morgan, J. Pierpont (John Pierpont), 1837-1913, former owner.
Morgan, J. P. (John Pierpont), 1867-1943, former owner.

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