Study of a Figure Used in the Adoration of the Magi Cartoon Made for Domenico Alfani
Florence, Uffizi, no. 6477F.
Red chalk, 37.4 x 19.1; two ink smudges at the upper right; wm., two crossed keys encircled by two concentric rings surmounted by a cross, perhaps Briquet 3901. Inscribed on the mat: Rosso?.
Berenson, 1903, no. 2409, as Rosso, and feeble.
Kusenberg, 1931, 135, 139, no. 17, as Rosso.
Berenson, 1938, no. 2409, as Rosso.
Barocchi, 1950, 203, n. 1, Fig. 182, as Rosso, from his Florentine period.
Longhi, 1951, 59 (1976, 99), as not by Rosso.
Marcucci, 1953, 87, n. 22, as by Clemente Bandinelli.
Berenson, 1961, no. 2409, as Rosso.
Carroll, 1961, 449, n. 12, as not by Rosso.
Carroll, 1964 (1976), II, Bk. II, 461-462, F.11, Bk. III, Fig. 153, as possibly by Vasari and possibly after a lost drawing by Rosso of around 1529-30; “Addition to the Preface,” 1976, vii, as very likely a copy of a lost drawing by Rosso for the Alfani Adoration of the Magi.
Shearman, BM, 1966, 164, 171, n. 34, as by Rosso, and as a study for the Adoration of the Magi engraved by Cherubino Alberti which may represent the cartoon that Rosso made for Domenico Alfani in Perugia in 1527.
Carroll, 1967, 300, n. 15, as probably a copy of a lost drawing by Rosso not necessarily for the cartoon for Alfani.
Carroll, 1987, 144, 146, n. 7, under no. 48, as a copy of a lost drawing by Rosso for the cartoon he made for Alfani.
Forlani Tempesti, 1992, 97, Fig. 7, as possibly by Giovanni Antonio Lappoli after a lost drawing by Rosso.
Franklin, 1994, 160, Pl. 124, as Rosso or a copy after Rosso for a bystander in Alfani’s Adoration of the Magi, the figure as in Rosso’s Saturn and Philyra, engraved by Caraglio, and ultimately derived from one of the soldiers designed by Michelangelo for Sebastiano del Piombino’s Flagellation in S. Pietro in Montorio.
As Shearman indicated, the drawing is related to the page in the foreground of the Adoration of the Magi engraved by Cherubino Alberti (Fig.E.1) and based upon the lost cartoon that Vasari says Rosso made for Domenico Alfani in Perugia shortly after the Sack of Rome in 1527 (L.20). Alfani’s picture made from this cartoon (Fig.Alfani) shows the page in the original direction and not reversed as in the print. In other respects, however, Rosso’s figure is probably more accurately represented in the engraving.
While the figure is dressed in the Adoration he is nude in the drawing (a passage of drapery appears behind his raised left arm); also his left arm – the right in the print – does not appear in the engraving or painting where the figure is turned slightly more, hence concealing that arm, the shoulder of which is covered by the arm of a magus. The drawing, therefore, is not a copy after this painted figure and appears instead to have been used for it.
The clear contours of the drawing and its fine parallel shading are quite similar to those of Rosso’s study (Fig.D.7) for the figure of St. Sebastian of the Dei Altarpiece. Even closer, perhaps, in the fineness of the description of the lights and shadows is Rosso’s Seated Male Nude of around 1523 (Fig.D.9). The description of the hair is like that of the Nude with a Standard of 1524 (Fig.D.12).
Given these graphic similarities to Rosso’s drawings, and the relation of the figure to the Adorations by Cherubino and Alfani, it would seem that the drawing should be recognized as Rosso’s. But compared with Rosso’s drawings that come closest to the Standing Nude Youth, its draughtsmanship appears not to be specifically of the same kind. The contours are too unvaried and the shading too feathery. The drawing of the left foot is too uncertain. Furthermore, the drapery on the far side of the left arm is without any real definition. Close as it may be to Rosso’s drawings, the Standing Nude Youth has to be recognized as a copy, although a very accurate one, of a lost original drawing.
The drawing is by the same hand as the Seated Nude Youth, in the Uffizi (Fig.D.22), which is a copy of another lost nude study that Rosso used for the Adoration that he designed for Domenico Alfani. The differences between what appears in the drawing, including the drapery behind the left arm, the purpose of which is unclear, and what is seen in the painted and engraved compositions leads one to believe that the lost original drawing was not made for the composition of the cartoon given to Alfani, although, modified, the figure was used for it. The same copyist seems to have done the drawing derived from lost studies by Rosso (Fig.D.26B) that were used for the Adoration of the Magi he designed for Giovanni Antonio Lappoli in 1528. However, the copies need not be by Lappoli.
Marcucci’s suggestion that the drawing is by Clemente Bandinelli has no basis in any real knowledge of how this sculptor drew.