Attributed to Cristofano Allori
Lady Seated with Two Children, ca. 1600–20
Pen and brown ink, over black chalk
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1909
Mariette meticulously mounted his drawings on custom-made blue paper mats embellished with cartouches bearing the name of the artist, gold filets, and decorative borders. His mats provide a refined way of displaying and storing drawings. At the same time, they deeply influence the viewer’s perception of the sheets. The contrast between the dark mat and the light paper of the drawing forces the eye to focus on the image at the center. This visual effect becomes particularly clear when comparing a drawing with Mariette’s original mat to one without it.