Florence, Uffizi, no. 444S, recto.
The verso: Two Standing Male Nudes Cut at the Waist (by the Top Edge of the Sheet).
Recto: pen and ink, point of brush and brown wash, heightened with white on yellow washed paper; verso: left figure in the same media as the recto, the second figure in pen and ink only; 22.9 x 23.7. Inscribed in ink on the verso: non so di chi / Di Mirabello fiorentino, followed by: Rosso fior. in pencil; on the mount is written: Girol. da Carpi.
Santarelli, 1870, 40, no. 9, as Rosso; Modificazioni, n.d., 18, as 444S, with the note “Girol. da Carpi.”
Carroll, 1961, 450, 451, Fig. 12, 453, the recto as a copy, similar to drawings given to Biagio Pupini, after a lost study by Rosso of 1528 for his picture in Città di Castello.
Carroll, 1964 (1976), I, Bk. I, 176-177, 180-182, II, Bk. II, 277-285, D.26, Bk. III, Fig. 82, the recto as a copy of a lost drawing by Rosso.
Forlani , 169, under no. 30, as a copy after Rosso but not reflecting his draughtsmanship.
Evelina Borea, in Primato del disegno, 1980, 191, under no. 453, as a copy after a lost drawing.
Darragon, 1983, 50, Fig. 30, as a copy of a lost drawing of 1528.
Carroll, 1987, 25, 34, n. 66.
Franklin, 1994, 200-202, Pl. 159, the recto as a copy of a lost drawing by Rosso for the Christ in Glory, perhaps cut at left, attributed to Biagio Pupini and by the same hand as the copy in Munich of another study for this picture; the verso as probably also copied from lost figure studies, the right figure similar to Nicodemus in the Sansepolcro altarpiece, the left figure like David in Lappoli’s Visitation designed by Rosso in 1524 (see L.17 and Fig.Lappoli, Visitation).
This drawing is related to the lower half of Rosso’s altarpiece in Città di Castello (Fig.P.20a) and to the copy of his study for this part of the picture in Rome (Fig.D.29). Although the Uffizi drawing is clearly not an autograph work by Rosso it is also clearly not a copy either of Rosso’s painting or of the drawing in Rome or of the work from which that drawing was copied. Both drawings differ from the painting by showing a male figure seen from the side about in the center of the foreground of the composition, and by showing as well in the lower right corner a nude child who holds a dog in the Uffizi drawing, which may be very lightly indicated in the Rome drawing. Because of the relationship of these two drawings to each other and to Rosso’s painting it is necessary to conclude that the Uffizi drawing is a copy of a lost study by Rosso for his picture.
As the Rome drawing shows two figures at the right as in the altarpiece, rather than three as in the Uffizi drawing, it is probable that the latter is a copy of a study that is earlier than the original of the other drawing in Rome. This is also suggested by the somewhat simpler pose of the figure seen from the side in the Uffizi drawing and on his being nude to the waist in that copy. He was later clothed, as were some of the women at the top of the picture, after being shown semi-nude in the early study for them (Fig.D.27A; Fig.D.27B), as well as the kneeling woman, whose breasts and shoulder are bare in the drawings. However, both drawings were most probably made soon after the commission for the altarpiece was given to Rosso on 1 July 1528, but before late summer or early autumn of that year when he became ill and left Città di Castello. They were also probably made shortly after a second trip to Florence that Rosso took about this time, for both drawings show the influence of Michelangelo’s current style and a composition quite different from that of the Borgo Sansepolcro Pietà of 1527-1528 (Fig.P.19a). The same Michelangelesque elements are found in Rosso’s Allegory of the Immaculate Conception (Fig.D.32) made for S. Maria delle Lagrime in Arezzo only a short while later, shortly after 24 November 1528. This style does not appear in Rosso’s later compositions for the Lagrime project of 1529, the Allegory of the Virgin (Fig.D.33Aa; Fig.D.33B), and the Throne of Solomon (Fig.D.34). The lower half of the Christ in Glory was made less complex and less Michelangelesque when it was re-designed and the altarpiece executed in 1529-30.
Like the copies in Paris and Munich (D.27A, B) of another study for the Christ in Glory, it is just possible that the Uffizi copy preserves something of the draughtsmanship of Rosso’s lost drawing, which might have resembled that of the center of the Design for a Chapel of 1528-1529 (Fig.D.37a). The hatching on the arm and breasts of the kneeling woman resembles Rosso’s manner of shading, but this relationship is not especially convincing.1
On the verso of this sheet, the two drawings of standing male nudes, cut through the torsos, were recognized by Franklin as similar to figures in Rosso’s Sansepolcro Pietà and in Lappoli’s Visitation, in the Badia in Arezzo, designed by Rosso in 1524 (see L.17 and Fig.Lappoli, Visitation). The poses do suggest that the figures copy nude studies by Rosso. It is interesting that they could be copies of figures by Rosso from quite different dates, before and after his Roman stay, although, of course, the connections that Franklin makes need not be absolute. One may wonder, however, where the copyist got the original drawings he copied, perhaps from the number of drawings that Rosso left in storage when he fled Arezzo in 1529 and returned to Sansepolcro to execute the Christ in Glory (See L.30).
1 The drawing seems to be by the same hand as Uffizi 450S, which has on its recto (Fig.Uffizi, 450S recto) a partial copy of Rosso’s Hercules Shooting Nessus (Fig.E.20; see E.19-24, COPIES, DRAWINGS). As this drawing cannot reflect Rosso’s draughtsmanship from the print it copies, it may not be possible to see much of his manner of drawing in Uffizi 444S.