D.56 (COPY) Allegory of Deceit

D.56 (COPY) Allegory of Deceit

For the Small Fresco to the Right of the Loss of Perpetual Youth in the Gallery of Francis I, Fontainebleau

c. 1531/1532-1534

Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, B. 5 réserve, Dessins de l’École de Fontainebleau, Vol. I, no. 19.


Pen and dark brown ink and brown wash, 24 x 23.7, the drawing itself within a circle set in a square.  Inscribed in ink at the lower right: Leonard Thierry.

PROVENANCE: Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève (Lugt 2259).


Kusenberg, 1931, 137, 143-144, no. 60, Pl. LI, as Rosso, 1530-1536, for his fresco to the right of the Loss of Perpetual Youth in the Gallery of Francis I.

Kusenberg, 1931-1932, 86-87, 90, Fig., as Rosso by comparison with his Vertumnus and Pomona drawing, and as having a false inscription to Thiry.

Kusenberg, 1933, 169, Fig. 10, 170, as Thiry.

Kusenberg, 1939, 41, as Thiry.

Barocchi, 1950, 108, 131, 144, Fig. 136, as a copy by Thiry after Rosso.

Lövgren, 1951, 74-75, Fig. 75, as Thiry.

Panofsky, 1958, 150, 173, n. 85, Fig. 43, as Thiry, with the male statue in the scene vaguely reminiscent of Michelangelo’s David.

Carroll, 1964 (1976), I, Bk. I, 249-250, II, Bk. II, 396-405, D.45, Bk. III, Fig. 120, as a copy of a lost drawing by Rosso of c. 1534-1536, possibly by Léonard Thiry.

Berckenhagen, 1968, 11, n. 10, as Thiry.

Béguin, 1970, 9, 89, Fig. 13, as by Thiry after Rosso’s fresco.

Béguin, in EdF, 1972, 197, Fig., 198, no. 222, as Thiry.

Béguin and Pressouyre, 1972, 128, as Thiry, with slight variations from the fresco and the same scene in the tapestry in Vienna.

Marianne Grivel, in Ronsard, 1985, 99-100, no. 131, with Fig., as by Thiry and copied from the fresco in the Gallery of Francis I.

Béguin, 1988 (1989), 10, as by Thiry, as a copy of Rosso’s fresco.

Béguin, 1989, 837, apparently referring to this drawing, as by Thiry.

Brugerolles and Guillet, 1994, 93, Fig., 94, under no. 32, 40, 42, n. 12, under no. 15, 110, under no. 37, as by Thiry.

As discussed in P.22 under II S and in Chapter VIII, this drawing is a copy of a lost study by Rosso for his small fresco of the Allegory of Deceit (Fig.P.22, II S f) to the right of the Loss of Perpetual Youth in the Gallery of Francis I (Fig.P.22, II S a).  Several details of the fresco are missing from the drawing, such as the bees flying around Hecate’s head, the man running in the landscape at the lower right, as well as the appearance of the architecture that is more finished in the painting.  The schematic rendering of the architectural details is similar to that in Rosso’s Allegory of the Virgin as the Ark of the Covenant (Fig.D.33Aa) and in the drawing for the early version of the Scene of Sacrifice (Fig.D.50A).  Such simplification would then be elaborated in the finished painting, and possibly first in a cartoon for it.

The draughtsmanship of the drawing comes close to that of Rosso’s Pandora and Her Box (Fig.D.67a), although its mode of drawing has been stiffened and regularized in the Allegory of Deceit.  But it has been so transformed almost certainly with precise reference to a specific drawing by Rosso, that is, the lost original drawing.  The same types of somewhat gnarled outlines and the same kinds of hooked strokes and small parallel ones appear in the Pandora drawing, although all without real vitality in the copy.

The washes in the copy are insecurely rendered, and although there are two levels of them, their effect is very flat.  In the Pandora drawing, there are at least three levels of washes that give plasticity and dramatic force to the image, which is not true of the Allegory of Deceit.  The foot of the old man overlapping the edge of the scene is a kind of detail that can be found elsewhere in Rosso’s art, including the Assumption of the Virgin of 1513-1514 (Fig.P.3a) and the Labors of Hercules of 1524 (Fig.E.20; Fig.E.24).

As the wall in the gallery containing this scene seems to belong to the earliest stage of the invention of the compositions for the decoration of this room, Rosso’s lost drawing must have been made between c. 1531/1532 and 1534 (see P.22).

The attribution of the copy to Thiry is possible but not absolutely provable.  The inscription of his name is the same as on the Design for a Covered Cup in the Victoria and Albert Museum (Fig.RD.22).  The line in that drawing is quite light and nervous, while in the Allegory it is dark and firm.  This could be because the latter copies a drawing by Rosso while the other drawing is the draughtsman’s own invention, albeit a Rossoesque one.