Drawing from Cassiano dal Pozzo’s “Museo Cartaceo”
Drawing, executed in pen and brown ink and brown wash over black chalk, laid to Stirling-Maxwell album sheet of wove paper, 128 × 288 mm.
This drawing of a panel relief showing maidens draping a candelabrum (‘Nuptiale Festum’) was commissioned by Cassiano dal Pozzo (1588-1657) for his ‘Museo Cartaceo’, and later passed through the collections of Pope Clement XI, his nephew Cardinal Alessandro Albani, King George III, and the antiquary Sir William Stirling-Maxwell. In the early sixteenth century, the marble relief was located in the atrium of Old St. Peter’s in Rome; after 1617, it was installed with its pendant relief of five female figures dancing (‘Nuptiales Choreae’) above opposite doors in the Salone of the Casino of Cardinal Scipione Borghese, on the Pincian hill. Its fame grew steadily and was assured by its inclusion (again with its pendant) in Perrier’s Icones (1645) and in Bartoli and Bellori’s Admiranda romanarum antiquitatum (1693). In 1807, the relief and its pendant were sold to Napoleon Bonaparte and sent to Paris; since 1817, both have been displayed in the Louvre.
The sheet was exhibited in 2001 (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, from 16 December 2001-16 March 2002, edited by Francesco Solinas, Roma: Edizioni De Luca, 2001, p.230 no. 140, with reproduction).
price on request
Anonymous Roman draughtsman
Panel relief: a maenad striding to right, carrying flowers; two maidens adorning a candelabrum (‘Nuptiale Festum’)
Pen and brown ink and brown wash over black chalk, 128 × 288 mm.
Composed of two sheets. Watermark: star in circle. Pasted onto a characteristic Dal Pozzo inlaid mount with double ruled border lines known as ‘Type A’ mount.
Laid to Stirling-Maxwell album sheet of wove paper. Mounted and framed.
commissioned by Cassiano dal Pozzo (1588-1637) for the ‘Museo Cartaceo’ and kept in the library of his palazzo, via dei Chiavari, Rome — transferred (with the entire Dal Pozzo collection) by fidecommesso to his younger brother Carlo Antonio dal Pozzo (1606-1689) — inherited in turn by Gabriele dal Pozzo (died in 1695), his widow (born Anna Teresa Benzoni, after her remarriage in 1697 the Marchesa Lancellotti de’ Ginnetti; died in 1736), and Cosimo Antonio dal Pozzo (died in 1740), who sold the Dal Pozzo library 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 — King George iii, kept in Buckingham House — among sheets of the ‘Museo Cartaceo’ appropriated by the Royal Librarian Richard Dalton (1715-1791) during a reorganisation of the drawings circa 1786-1788 — presumably his deceased sale by Greenwood’s auction house, London, 11-19 May 1791 — the antiquary John MacGowan (died in 1803, Edinburgh), presumably his deceased sale by Thomas Philipe’s auction house, London, 26 January-4 February 1804 — the antiquary Charles Townley (1737-1805) — by descent to John Townley, presumably his sale, Sotheby, Wilkinson and Hodge, London, 10-11 May 1865, indirectly to — Sir William Stirling Maxwell of Pollok (1818-1878) and bound in an album entitled ‘Drawings by Italian Old Masters. Sculpture’ (fol. 26) — by descent within the family — consigned for sale by Phillips, Son & Neale, ‘Old Master Drawings’, London, 12 December 1990, where dispersed as lots 219-374 (this sheet p.86 lot 236) — Private collection, Dublin
Biella, Museo del territorio Biellese, 16 December 2001-16 March 2002
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, from 16 December 2001-16 March 2002, edited by Francesco Solinas (Roma: Edizioni De Luca, 2001), p.230 no. 140 (reproduced)
Phyllis Pray Bober and Ruth Rubinstein, Renaissance artists & antique sculpture: a handbook of sources, second edition, edited by Elisabeth McGrath (London 2010), p.105 no. 59B (‘17th-century sheet from Pozzo-Stirling Maxwell albums, present location unknown’)
I Borghese e l’antico, catalogue of an exhibition held at the Galleria Borghese, Rome, 7 December 2011-9 April 2012, edited by Anna Coliva (Rome 2011), p.250 (‘Artista del Museo Cartaceo, collezione privata’)
Une histoire en images de la collection Borghèse: les antiques de Scipion dans les albums Topham, edited by Marie-Lou Fabréga-Dubert (Paris: Mare et Martin / Louvre éditions, 2020), pp.346-347 (‘Anonyme Italien’, reproduced; ‘Collection particulière’)
This drawing of a panel relief showing maidens draping a candelabrum (‘Nuptiale Festum’) was commissioned by Cassiano dal Pozzo (1588-1657) for his ‘Museo Cartaceo’, and later passed through the collections of Pope Clement xi, his nephew Cardinal Alessandro Albani, King George iii, and the antiquary Sir William Stirling-Maxwell. It came onto the market at the dispersal of the Stirling-Maxwell albums of ‘Drawings by Italian Old Masters. Sculpture’ by Phillips, Son & Neale, in London, 12 December 1990, since when it has been in a private collection in Ireland.
In the early sixteenth century, the marble relief was located in the piazza (or atrium) of Old St. Peter’s in Rome; after 1617, it was installed with its pendant relief of five female figures dancing (‘Nuptiales Choreae’) above opposite doors in the Salone of the Casino of Cardinal Scipione Borghese, on the Pincian hill. In 1642, the ancient relief, with its pendant, was cast in bronze in Paris for Louis XIII, on the advice of Poussin. Its fame grew steadily and was assured by its inclusion (again with its pendant) in Perrier’s Icones et segmenta (1645)1 and in Bartoli and Bellori’s Admiranda (1693).2 In 1807, the relief and its pendant were sold to Napoleon Bonaparte and sent to Paris; since 1817, both have been displayed in the Louvre.3
The drawing does not record the relief in its present state.4 The omission of the architectural background of pilasters and other deviations suggest that the artist was not relying on observation, but copying another drawing (or drawings), at present unknown. The maenad striding to right is shown with fruit or flowers in both hands; these may be restorations by the artist, to complete the sense of his drawing. In the Escurialensis drawing (single maenad only, before c. 1509), the right hand is empty;5 in Perrier’s etching (1645), it carries ears of corn. Likewise, the base of the candelabrum decorated by the two maidens is carved with satyrs in the Escurialensis drawing, but vaguely sketched by Cassiano’s draughtsman; an additional maenad was added by Perrier.
Cassiano set about assembling in the period from about 1620 until his death (1657) a corpus of drawings of the major (and minor) antiquities in Rome, a ‘Museo Cartaceo’. Most of the draughtsmen he employed on the vast project are still anonymous.6 The hand responsible for our drawing produced others for the ‘Museo Cartaceo’. The most exact comparisons for the style and drawing technique are a sheet copying the relief on the Borghese vase, portraying five maenads and satyrs dancing to music with similar misplacement of the figures (RL 8332);7 and a drawing of the Achilles and Penthesilea sarcophagus8 now built into the garden wall of the Casino Rospigliosi in Rome (Franks I, no. 103).9 The drawing in the ‘Museo Cartaceo’ of the pendant relief of dancing maidens was provided by a different hand (RL 8503).10
1. François Perrier, Icones et segmenta illustrium è marmore tabularum quae Romae adhuc extant (Rome 1645), plate 19 (image).
2. Pietro Santi Bartoli and Giovanni Pietro Bellori, Admiranda romanarum antiquitatum ac veteris sculpturae vestigia anaglyphico opere elaborata ex marmoreis exemplaribus quae Romae adhuc extant in Capitolio aedibus hortisque virorum principum ad antiquam elegantiam (Rome 1693), pl. 64 (image). The relief is pl. 74 in the first edition, issued c. 1680.
3. Paris, Musée du Louvre, Inv. MR 822 (Ma 1641), marble, 68 × 150 cm. Marie-Lou Fabréga-Dubert, La collection Borghèse au musée Napoléon (Paris 2009), II, p. 167 no. 311; Elisabetta Sandrelli, Marie-Lou Fabréga-Dubert, Jean-Luc Martinez, in I Borghese e l’antico, op. cit. (2011), pp.250-252 no. 8.
4. The relief has been restored twice: by Francesco Fondi, in 1617, and by Luigi Salimei, in 1778; see I Borghese e l’antico, op. cit. (2011), pp.250-252 no. 8, and p.414 doc. 3 (21 March 1617).
5. Madrid, Biblioteca Real, El Escorial, Codex Escurialensis, fol. 51v; Hermann Egger, Codex Escurialensis: ein Skizzenbuch aus der Werkstatt Domenico Ghirlandaios (Vienna 1905-1906), p.129. For more sixteenth-century drawings and adaptations, see Bober and Rubinstein, op. cit. (2010), p.105 no. 59B.
6. Nicholas Turner, ‘Some of the copyists after the antique employed by Cassiano’ in The Paper Museum of Cassiano dal Pozzo, catalogue of an exhibition held in the British Museum, London, 14 May-30 August 1993 (Quaderni puteani, 4) ([Milan] 1993), pp.36-37.
7. Windsor, Royal Library, vol. 3 (A 42 : 157), fol. 9, no. 8332; Cornelius C. Vermeule, ‘The Dal Pozzo-Albani Drawings of Classical Antiquities in the Royal Library at Windsor Castle’ in Transactions of the American Philosophical Society 56 (1966), part 2, p.21.
8. Carl Robert, Die antiken Sarkophagreliefs, Bd. 2: Mythologische Cyklen, im Auftrage des Kaiserlich Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts mit Benutzung der Vorarbeiten von Friedrich Matz (Berlin 1890), p.118 no. 96.
9. London, British Museum, Department of Greek & Roman Antiquities, Franks I, folio 97, no. 103; Cornelius C. Vermeule, ‘The Dal Pozzo-Albani Drawings of Classical Antiquities in the British Museum’ in Transactions of the American Philosophical Society 50 (1960), part 5, p.16. British Museum, Registration number 2005,0926.97 (image).
10. Windsor, Royal Library, vol. 5 (A 44: 159), fol. 20, no. 8503; Vermeule, op. cit. (1966), p.33 (‘the two figures to the right and the three to the left have been juxtaposed; the architectural background of pilasters has been omitted’); Bober and Rubinstein, op. cit. (2010), p.105 (‘whole relief wrongly reassembled in restored sheet’). The drawing is catalogued by Anthony Blunt, ‘Supplements to the catalogues of Italian and French drawings’ in Edmund Schilling, The German drawings in the collection of Her Majesty the Queen at Windsor Castle (London 1971), p.85 no. 180 as ‘Attributed to [Battista] Franco’ (c. 1498-1561).