Drawing from Cassiano dal Pozzo’s "Museo Cartaceo" (240 × 395 mm) View larger
Drawing from Cassiano dal Pozzo’s "Museo Cartaceo" (240 × 395 mm)
Alberti (Cherubino), 1553-1615

Design for the decoration of a room with four window bays, each bay surmounted by a broken pediment, above which is a gallery with putti and musicians (for the Sala di Costantino in the Lateran Palace?).

Rome, c. 1596-1600

Drawing, executed in pen and brown ink with grey wash, 240 × 394 mm.
A drawing from Cassiano dal Pozzo’s “Museo Cartaceo”, recording alternative schemes for the decoration of a room approximately 61 feet in length with four, irregularly spaced rectangular windows, precisely matching the Salone di Costantino in the Lateran Palace built by Sixtus V in 1585-1589. The project shown was not executed and the room was decorated later by others. The sheet was exhibited in Rome in 2000 and in Biella in 2001-2002 with an attribution to Cherubino Alberti. The editors of the volumes devoted to architectural and topographical drawings from the Paper Museum commissioned and collected by Cassiano dal Pozzo, have catalogued it as “Late Sixteenth-century Italian” (The Paper Museum of Cassiano dal Pozzo: a catalogue raisonné. Series A, Antiquities and architecture; pt. 10: Renaissance and later architecture and ornament, by Paul Davies and David Hemsoll, [London] 2013, II, pp.410-411 no. 153, reproduced).

It is now apparent that Cassiano collected avidly both “artistic” and “documentary” drawings made before the birth of the Paper Museum. The sources of these drawings are unknown; it is supposed that some were purchased; some received as gifts from Cassiano’s numerous correspondents, and that others entered the Paper Museum by bequest. These drawings extended the encyclopaedic range of the Paper Museum and it is speculated that they were acquired to assist the education of the “giovani ben intendenti del disegno” whom Cassiano employed.

The Tuscan origin of the Alberti family and their use of quadratura perspective were major recommendations to Cassiano dal Pozzo and he owned many works by them, including at least four drawings by Cherubino and two paintings by his younger brother Giovanni (1558-1601). During the 1630s, Cassiano commissioned for his “Museo Cartaceo” a set of copies of drawings of architectural fragments by their father, Alberto Alberti (1526-1598). He employed a relation, Pierfrancesco Alberti (1584-1638), to make line drawings and diagrams for his projected publication of Leonardo’s Trattato della Pittura.

Subjects
Art - Collectors and collecting - Dal Pozzo (Cassiano), 1588-1657
Drawings - Artists, Italian - Alberti (Cherubino), 1553-1615
Authors/Creators
Alberti, Cherubino, 1553-1615
Artists/Illustrators
Alberti, Cherubino, 1553-1615
Owners
Albani, Alessandro, Cardinal, 1692-1779
Dal Pozzo, Cassiano, 1588-1657
Dalton, Richard, c. 1715-1791
George III, King of Great Britain, 1738-1820
McGowan, John, died 1803
Stirling Maxwell, William, Sir, 1818-1878
Townley, Charles, 1737-1805
Townley, John, 1803-1876

Alberti, Cherubino
Sansepolcro 1553 – 1615 Rome

Design for the decoration of a room with four window bays, each bay surmounted by a broken pediment, above which is a gallery with putti and musicians

Italy, late 16th century

Pen and brown ink with grey wash, 240 × 394 mm. Watermark of a bird seated on three hillocks, with a circle drawn around the device.1 Clean tear across the sheet repaired at an early date without loss.

Inlaid to a seventeenth-century album folio (mount sheet: type B; watermark: none). Mounted and framed.

provenance Cassiano dal Pozzo (1588–1637), acquired for the ‘Museo Cartaceo’ and kept in the library of his palazzo, via dei Chiavari, Rome — transferred (with the entire Dal Pozzo collections) by fidecom­messo to his younger brother Carlo Antonio dal Pozzo (1606–1689) — by inheritance to his second son, Gabriele dal Pozzo (d. 1695) — by inheritance to his widow (born Anna Teresa Benzoni, after her remarriage in 1697 the Marchesa Lancellotti de’Ginnetti; d. 1736), and held in custody for their son, Cosimo Antonio dal Pozzo (d. 1740) — within the Dal Pozzo library sold in 1703 to Pope Clement xi for the Vatican library — transferred in January 1714 to the Pope’s nephew, Cardinal Alessandro Albani (1692–1779), and kept in his palazzo ‘alle Quattro Fontane’ in Rome — within the Albani collection of prints and drawings, including the ‘Museo Cartaceo’, sold in 1762 to James Adam as agent for the Royal Librarian Richard Dalton — King George iii, kept in Buckingham House — among sheets of the ‘Museo Cartaceo’ appropriated by Dalton (1715–1791) during a reorganisation of the drawings circa 1786–1788 — his deceased sale by Greenwood’s auction house, London, 11–19 May 1791 — John MacGowan (d. 1803), his deceased sale by the auctioneer Thomas Philipe, London, 26 January–2 February 1804 — Charles Townley (1737–1805) — his kinsman John Townley (1803–1876), his sale by Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge, London, 10–11 May 1865, part of lot 406 — pur­chased by Thorpe (£5.5s) — acquired by 1871 by Sir William Stirling Maxwell of Pollok (1818–1878), when bound in an album entitled ‘Drawings by Italian Old Masters. Architecture’ — by descent within the family — consigned for sale by Phillips, Son & Neale, ‘Old Master Drawings’, London, 12 December 1990, where album dispersed as lots 219–374 (this sheet lot 312) — the present owner

exhibited Rome, Galleria nazionale d’arte antica, Palazzo Barberini, 29 September–26 November 2000; Biella, Museo del territorio Biellese, 16 December 2001–16 March 2002

literature I segreti di un collezionista: le straordinarie raccolte di Cassiano dal Pozzo 1588–1657, catalogue of an exhibition held at the Galleria nazionale d’arte antica, Palazzo Barberini, Rome, 29 Septem­ber–26 November 2000, edited by Francesco Solinas (Rome 2000), pp.166–167 no. 187 (reproduced)

I segreti di un collezionista: le straordinarie raccolte di Cassiano dal Pozzo 1588–1657, catalogue of an exhibition held at the Museo del territorio Biellese, Biella, 16 December 2001–16 March 2002, edited by Francesco Solinas (Rome 2001), pp.248–249 no. 162 (reproduced)

Paul Davies and David Hemsoll, The Paper Museum of Cassiano dal Pozzo: a catalogue raisonné. Series A, Antiquities and architecture; part 10: Renaissance and later architecture and ornament ([London] 2013), ii, pp.410–411 no. 153 (reproduced)

Reduced from 240 × 395 mm

Until 1990, this sheet was united with approximately two hundred others in two albums of ‘Drawings by Italian Old Masters’ which had been assembled in 1871 for the Scots antiquary Sir William Stirling-Maxwell of Pollok (1818–1878). Most of the drawings bound in these albums (subtitled respectively ‘Sculpture’ and ‘Architecture’) were commissioned by Cassiano dal Pozzo for his ‘Museo Cartaceo’ and document classi­cal antiquities; the rest are earlier drawings, some also after the Antique, others architec­tural and decorative subjects, which had been collected by Cassiano and placed in his ‘Libri di disegni’ among the commissioned drawings.2

Until the discovery of the Stirling-Maxwell albums, such drawings by fifteenth and six­teenth-century artists were considered rarities in the seventeenth-century context of the ‘Museo Cartaceo’. It is now apparent that Cassiano collected avidly both ‘artistic’ and ‘documentary’ drawings made before the birth of the Paper Museum. The sources of these drawings are unknown; it is supposed that some were purchased; some were received as gifts from Cassiano’s numerous correspondents, and others entered the Paper Museum by bequest. These drawings extended the encyclopaedic range of the Paper Museum and it is speculated that they were acquired to assist the education of the ‘giovani ben intendenti del disegno’ whom Cassiano employed.3

Included in the Stirling-Maxwell albums were a number of drawings of Roman wall decorations, painted or in stucco, dating from the Renaissance until the early seventeenth century. Four of these drawings (sold in 1990 as lots 283, 289, 312) are attributed to Cherubino Alberti, one of the great masters of illusionistic decoration at the beginning of the seventeenth cen­tury. In February 1596, Cherubino Alberti, together with his brother Giovanni (1558–1601), had signed a contract to decorate the vault of the Sala Clementina in the Vatican, and he was engaged there and in the adjoining Sala del Concistoro until after the death of Clement viii.4 The bar scale on our drawing (expressed in Roman piedi) indicates a room some 61 feet in length with four, irregularly spaced rectangular windows of equal size; it most probably is the Salone di Costantino.5 The project shown was not executed and the room was decorated later by others.6

The Tuscan origin of the Alberti family and their use of quadratura perspective were major recommendations to Cassiano dal Pozzo and he owned many works by them besides these drawings. During the 1630s, Cassiano commissioned for his ‘Museo Cartaceo’ a set of copies of drawings of architectural fragments by Alberto Alberti (1526–1598)7 and he employed Pierfrancesco Alberti (1584–1638) to make line drawings and diagrams for his projected publication of Leonardo’s Trattato della Pittura.8 In the Dal Pozzo quadreria were ‘Due Prospettive’ painted by Giovanni Alberti.9

The Alberti family valued their drawings highly, as attested by Cherubino, who in his will forbid their dispersal. Known drawings by the Alberti exist in quantity only in the Gabinetto Nazionale delle Stampe (a volume of drawing purchased from the Alberti heirs in 1913) and in the Uffizi.10

1. Charles-Moïse Briquet, Les filigranes: dictionnaire historique des marques du papier dès leur appari­tion vers 1282 jusqu’en 1600, edited by Allan Stevenson (Amsterdam 1968), no. 12250 (Rome 1572); Aurelio and Augusto Zonghi, Zonghi’s watermarks, Monumenta chartæ papyraceæ historiam illustrantia, 3 (Hilversum 1953), no. 1844 (Fabriano 1590). The paper is of a kind used by Alberto Alberti for a technical drawing and also by Cherubino, for drawings after the antique; see Kristina Herrmann-Fiore, Disegni degli Alberti: il volume 2503 del Gabinetto nazionale delle stampe (Rome 1983), pp.287–289, nos. 181 and 101.

2. The latter drawings are described in two volumes of The Paper Museum of Cassiano dal Pozzo: a catalogue raisonné. Series A, Antiquities and architecture; part 10: Renaissance and later architecture and ornament, by Paul Davies and David Hemsoll; with contributions by Ian Campbell and Simon Pepper ([London] 2013). Also contained in the Stirling-Maxwell albums were some 18th-century drawings of a diverse nature, interpolated by Cardinal Alessandro Albani’s curators, or perhaps by Sir William Stirling-Maxwell himself.

3. Francesco Solinas, ‘Other sources of drawings in the Paper Museum’ in The Paper Museum of Cassiano dal Pozzo, catalogue of an exhibition held in the Prints and Drawings Gallery of the British Museum, 14 May–30 August 1993 (Quaderni puteani, 4) ([Milan] 1993), pp.225–257.

4. Morton C. Abromson, ‘Clement viii’s patronage of the brothers Alberti’ in The Art Bulletin 60 (1978), pp.531–547

5. Alessandro Ippoliti, ‘L’architettura del Palazzo Laterano’ in Il Patriarchio e il Palazzo Apostolico Laterano, edited by C. Pietrangeli, Nardini (Florence 1991), pp.192–215 (esp. p.194).

6. For a list of other projects undertaken by the Alberti family in Rome, see J.A. Gere and Philip Pouncey, Italian Drawings in the Department of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum: Artists working in Rome (London 1983), pp.20–21.

7. Cassiano’s copies are described by Lynda Fairbairn, Italian Renaissance drawings from the collec­tion of Sir John Soane’s Museum (London 1998), i, pp.317–359; for the originals, see Giovanna Maria Forni, Monumenti antichi di Roma nei disegni di Alberto Alberti (Rome 1991).

8. Janis C. Bell, ‘Cassiano dal Pozzo’s copy of the Zaccolini manuscripts’ in Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 51 (1988), p.113.

9. Donatella L. Sparti, Le collezioni dal Pozzo: storia di una famiglia e del suo museo nella Roma seicente­sca (Modena 1992), pp.105, 107; both paintings were selected by Giuseppe Ghezzi for exhibi­tion in 1715: Mostre di quadri a S. Salvatore in Lauro (1682–1725): stime di collezioni romane, edited by Giulia De Marchi (Rome 1987), p.306.

10. Kristina Herrmann-Fiore, Disegni degli Alberti: il volume 2503 del Gabinetto nazionale delle stampe (Rome 1983); see Diane De Grazia’s review, in Master Drawings 23 (1985), pp.405-407.

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