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P.22 V North: The Twins of Catania

P.22 V North: The Twins of Catania

The central fresco: c. 1.67 x c. 2.58 m.

Fig.P.22, V N a whole wall
Fig.P.22, V N b bw, whole wall

In the places once occupied by the beams when they were set lower are now a lion’s head with a vegetal mane at the left and a large rose bud at the right, from the center of which, on rings, hang the stucco garlands.  Originally, as visible in Guesdon’s lithographic view of the gallery (Fig.Guesdon), the garlands hung from a ring set in the middle of the underside of each beam.  The effaced areas at the bottom of the wall had painted garlands one of which is dimly visible in Guesdon’s print.

PREPARATORY DRAWING: D.60 (COPY).  Amstersdam, Rijksmuseum, no. A 2178.  The Twins of Catania (D.60).  This pen and ink and red chalk drawing served as the model for Boyvin’s engraving (see below).  A few differences from the fresco in the gallery and the penmanship of the drawing indicate that it was made after a lost drawing by Rosso.  That drawing probably was modelled with washes that have been translated into red chalk shading to serve better, it would seem, the requirements of engraving.  The lost original could also have had white highlights.  In the drawing the woman at the far left is dressed differently from her appearance in the fresco; the boxes somewhat to the right of her are not as extensively ribbed as in the gallery; and the buildings and size of the tree at the upper right are slightly different.  These slight variations probably entered the composition at the time just before the cartoon was made (see the anonymous etching below).  A strange detail of this drawing is that it shows no fire.

PRINTS: E.11.  Boyvin, The Twins of Catania (E.11).  This engraving, in reverse of the fresco, is based directly upon the drawing in Amsterdam (see above). T he drawing shows stylus marks; the ribbing of the box made only with the stylus in the drawing appears in the print.

E.142.  Anonymous, The Twins of Catania (E.142).  This etching is in the opposite direction of the fresco and shows the woman running into the scene dressed as in the painting and not as in the Amsterdam drawing and in the engraving by Boyvin.  The rounded box is also ribbed as in the fresco.  But more architecture is shown in the background of the print and there are more and larger rocks.  The etching is also slightly higher than the fresco and some of the elaboration of the background would seem due to this circumstance.  Otherwise, however, it might be thought that the etching is based on a drawing made from the fresco.  This is possible but the etching is so detailed that it seems more likely that it was made from a lost drawing by Rosso, one probably made just before the cartoon was executed.  The architecture behind the figures in the middleground could have been in the lost drawing and then eliminated from the composition when it was decided that a wall of fire would be more dramatic, as appears in the fresco.  But some buildings may still be vaguely indicated here in Rosso’s painting.

E.56,8.  Du Cerceau, Frame.  This etching shows only one side of the frame with the old bearded man in a niche and beneath the Royal F encircled by a crown.

E.73.  Fantuzzi, Frame (E.73).  This etching is related to the left stucco panel of this wall which is then more or less repeated on the other side of the print to frame a view of a port city.  The stucco panel is in reverse at the left of this print.  However, the two sides of the print are not absolutely in reverse of each other.  The poses of the upper left and right figures are not the same and the one at the right has no wings.  The pairs of herms on either side of the bearded figures are not the same at both sides.  There are, furthermore, so many variations from what appears in the gallery that one may have to assume that Fantuzzi was working from a lost drawing by Rosso.  The position of one arm of the old men is different and half of their chests are not bare.  The herms are male and have no arms and the niches have no shells.  One of the herms is bald as are two of the figures above.  Some of the variations in the print, such as the fact that the winged figures stand on nothing, would seem to be due to Fantuzzi.  But others may reflect details in a lost drawing.

One of Du Cerceau’s Petits Cartouches, E.57,9, is closely copied from Fantuzzi’s etching.

COPIES, DRAWINGS: New Haven, Yale University Art Gallery, no. 1961.65.5, The Twins of Catania (Fig.P.22Copy, New Haven).  Red chalk, 22 x 34.9.  Inscribed in pencil on mount at lower left: N. Poussin, and at the lower left and right, in pencil: V 5.  PROVENANCE: Egmont.  LITERATURE: Haverkamp-Begemann and Logan, 1970, I, 329-330, no. 620, II, Pl. 300, as attributed to Theodor van Thulden.  Roy, 1977, 68, 76, n. 11, as by Van Thulden.  Wilson-Chevalier, 1982, 12, 16, n. 45, as Van Thulden after Rosso’s fresco.  Wood, 1990, 46, n. 41, as by Abraham van Diepenbeeck.  The drawing is a copy after the fresco and seems to be by the same hand as the copy after the Combat of Centaurs and Lapiths in Besançon (see under I S).

Paris, Louvre, Inv. 1577.  The Twins of Catania (Fig.P.22Copy, Paris, 1577).  PROVENANCE: Saint-Morys.  LITERATURE: Saint-Morys, 1987, II, inv. no. 1577, giving Morel d’Arleux’s (523) attribution to Rosso.  Scailliérez, 1992, 132, n. 2, under no. 57, as a copy of Rosso’s composition.  Formerly attributed to Rosso, this black chalk drawing is a copy after the anonymous etching of this composition (see above and under E.142).