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L.3 Drawings after Michelangelo’s Cartoon of The Battle of Cascina

c. 1513

Vasari, 1550, 796, in the “Life” of Rosso: “Disegnò il Rosso nella sua giovanezza al cartone di Michele Agnolo…”  In the “Life” of Rosso this is the earliest reference to his artistic activity.  Vasari, 1568, II, 205 (Vasari-Milanesi, V, 156), the same.  Vasari, 1550, 957, in the “Life” of Michelangelo, includes Rosso’s name in the list of those artists who studied Michelangelo’s cartoon of the Battle of Cascina after it had been moved to the Sala del Papa at S. Maria Novella.  Vasari, 1568, III, 726, the same.  Vasari, 1568, III, 425 (Vasari-Milanesi, VI, 137), in the “Life” of Bandinelli Vasari says that “il Rosso ancor che giovane” drew from the cartoon.  Although this reference, as well as the mention of other artists who had drawn from the cartoon, appears in the context of Bandinelli’s having studied it in the Palazzo Vecchio after it had been returned there from the Sala del Papa, the actual location where these artists studied it is not specified here.  The cartoon was moved to the Sala del Papa in late 1512 and remained there until around November 1515 when it was returned to the Palazzo Vecchio (see Tolnay, I, 1943, 210-211).  Given what Vasari says in his “Life” of Michelangelo, it is most likely that Rosso did in fact study the cartoon in the Sala del Papa.  This would probably have been in 1513, shortly before he painted his Madonna and Child with St. John the Evangelist (Fig.P.2Aa), which shows the influence of Michelangelo’s nudes in the complex picture of the Christ Child.  One might also assume that his study of the cartoon took place before he began the Assumption at the Annunziata, the first payment of which was made in November 1513.

No copies of Michelangelo’s cartoon by Rosso have as yet been recognized.