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RD.14 Nude Old Man with His Right Leg Bent and His Knee Resting on a Draped Stump Or Rock

RD.14 Nude Old Man

Florence, Uffizi, no. 6926F.

Fig.RD.14

Red chalk, 36.5 x 26.

LITERATURE:

Berenson, 1938, 1961, no. 2430B, as Rosso, and possibly a study for Rosso’s Disputation of the Angel of Death and the Devil of 1517.

Becherucci, 1944 (1949), 26, Fig. 65a, as Rosso, similar to his Disputation of 1517 and perhaps a study for St. Jerome.

Barocchi, 1950, 210, Fig. 189, as Rosso in his Roman period.

Luisa Marcucci, in Mostra di disegni, 1954, 25, no. 36, as Rosso (?), around 1517 or 1520-1521, but not later, perhaps a copy, and perhaps a copy by Bandinelli.

Luisa Marcucci, in Het Eerste Manierisme, 1954, 45, no. 51, as above.

Sinibaldi, 1960-1961, 35, no. 51, with Fig., as Rosso.

Carroll, 1964 (1976), II, Bk. 2, 474-475, F. 22A, 531-533, Bk. 3, Fig. 171, as Bandinelli, and possibly for his early lost St. Jerome relief of around 1515.

Marabottini, 1969, I, 172, as Rosso, before 1524.

Carroll, 1971, 26, 34, a. 29, as Bandinelli and possibly for his early lost St. Jerome relief.

 

Berenson’s attribution of this drawing to Rosso has been generally accepted, although Marcucci expressed some doubt, suggesting that it might be a copy by Bandinelli of a Rosso drawing.  Prior to Berenson’s attribution the drawing had been attributed to Bandinelli, according to the file card at the Uffizi.  The drawing cannot be attributed to Rosso on the basis of the evidence of any drawings that can be securely attributed to him.  The emaciated figure is related to some of the old men in Rosso’s Disputation of the Angel of Death and the Devil of 1517 (Fig.D.1a) but the specifically acute description of these figures by Rosso is not related to the much more loosely conceived and executed Nude Old Man.  In 1964 I thought it was by Bandinelli and possibly a study for his lost wax relief of “San Girolamo in penitenza, secchissimo; il quale mostrava in su l’ossa i muscoli astenuati, e gran parte de’nervi, e la pelle grinza e secca” that Vasari mentioned after Bandinelli’s Cleopatra engraved by Agostino Veneziano in 1515 but that he also said was given to Giovanni and Giuliano de’Medici in 1512.1  Ward did not catalogue the drawing in 1982, indicating that he did not think it is by Bandinelli.

I continue to see the Nude Old Man as similar graphically to the Old Testament Scene in the British Museum (Fig.RD.19, recto) that had been attributed to Bandinelli, to the Draped Saint Gesturing with His Right Hand in the Uffizi (Fig.RD.11) that seems related to Bandinelli’s St. Peter, commissioned in 1515, and to other related drawings (see RD.3).  These drawings have all been attributed to Rosso, wrongly I believe.  Becherucci, Marcucci, and Sinibaldi had thought the Nude Old Man might be related to the subject of St. Jerome.  This seems possible and hence my association of the drawing with Vasari’s remarks about Bandinelli’s early relief.  However, Ward in 1988 thought a pen and ink drawing at Chatsworth of St. Jerome in Meditation in the Wilderness (Fig.Bandinelli, St. Jerome) is related to that lost relief, although he thought this drawing might be a copy of a drawing by Bandinelli (five other copies are known).2  However, it is difficult to reconcile the muscular and hardly thin image of the saint in the Chatsworth drawing with Vasari’s description of Bandinelli’s relief.  The Nude Old Man is much more the “secchissimo” saint of Vasari’s account.  If the relief was in fact given to the Medici in 1512 and the Nude Old Man is by him then it is quite an early drawing by Bandinelli, done when he was nineteen.  However, the resemblance of its draughtsmanship to that of the figures in the episode at the right of the Old Testament Scene, which might date from the 1540s, brings up the possibility that the Uffizi drawing is considerably later – it certainly does not have the vigor of the Draped Saint Gesturing with His Right Hand – and by a pupil, assistant or follower of Bandinelli.  How it may, or may not, be related to Bandinelli’s early drawing and relief of St. Jerome remains to be discovered.

 


1 Vasari-Milanesi, VI, 140-141.

2 Ward, 1988, 24-25, 90, Fig.  Ward, 1982, 198, no. 19, Fig. 198, as an autograph ricordo of Bandinelli’s St. Jerome, although Ward did not say of the original drawing or of the relief.