Girolamo Mazzola Bedoli

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Girolamo Mazzola Bedoli
approximately 1500-1569
Saint Benedict Filling a Censer Held by an Angel
ca. 1540
Black chalk, pen and brown ink and wash, with white, on light brown paper.
8 x 5 1/2 inches (206 x 141 mm)
Purchased on the Edwin H. Herzog Fund.
2004.18
Provenance: 
A. Rutgers (his inscription); Sale, Amsterdam, 1 December 1778 et seq., lot 444 (as Parmigianino, "Een Bisschop met en Engel, die het Wierookvat houdt, met de pen, gewassen en gehoogt"); New York, Christie's, 22 January 2004, lot 17, as Bedoli.
Description: 

The drawing is a study for the two figures in the lower right of the artist’s altarpiece of The Madonna and Child with Saints Justine, Alexander and Benedict in the Church of Sant’Alessandro, Parma.1 The painting was commissioned for its present location by the nuns of the convent of Saint Alexander in 1540, according to Ireneo Affò.2 In the final version an acolyte takes the place of the angel, Saint Benedict holds the thurible, and it is Pope Alexander, seated in the foreground who is filling the censer.

A drawing for the same two figures, accompanied by Pope Alexander, showing an alternative arrangement, is in a private English collection, whereas the Louvre owns a late compositional drawing, which shows the figures very much as they appear in the painting.3 According to the Christie’s sale catalog of 2004, Mario Di Giampaolo confirmed the attribution of the present drawing to Bedoli in a letter dated 29 April 2003.4 Mary Vaccaro concurs with the attribution to Bedoli (email to Morgan curators, November 2007).

Footnotes:

  1. Di Giampaolo 1997, 30, no. 18.
  2. Biblioteca Palatina, Parma, manuscript 1599; cited in Di Giampaolo 1997, 198.
  3. Di Giampaolo 1997, 175, no. 90. Louvre, Paris, inv. 6658; Di Giampaolo 1997, 197-98, no. 119.
  4. Christie’s, New York, 22 January 2004, lot 17.
Notes: 

The drawing is a study for the two figures in the lower right of the artist's altarpiece of The Madonna and Child with Saints Justine, Alexander and Benedict painted in 1540 for the Church of Sant'Alessandro, Parma, where it still hangs today. In the finished version an acolyte takes the place of the angel, Saint Alexander holds the thurible, and it is Saint Benedict, seated in the foreground, who is filling the censer. A drawing for the full composition is in the Musée du Louvre.
Watermark: none.

Associated names: 

Rutgers, A., 1695-1778, former owner.

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