P.22 I South: Combat of Centaurs and Lapiths

P.22 I South: The Combat of Centaurs and Lapiths

The central fresco: c. 1.67 x c. 2.675 m.

Fig.P.22, I S a bw, whole wall
Fig.P.22, I S b whole wall
Fig.P.22, I S c bw, relief, rage & madness
Fig.P.22, I S,Tapestry, a bw, whole tapestry
Fig.P.22, I S,Tapestry, b bw, putti playing left
Fig.P.22, I S,Tapestry, c bw, putting playing right
Fig.P.22, I S,Tapestry, d bw, ostrich

From the tapestry in Vienna it appears that the stucco putti at the upper right and left may originally have had drapery swirling around them and there may once have been a small tab of stucco surmounted by a finial above the abode of the stucco salamander.  The banner hanging from the trumpet played by the painted nude at the upper right is decorated with fleurs-de-lis, now only dimly visible.  At the lower left and right the two frescoes of playing putti are much effaced but their full compositions are still discernable.


E.140. Anonymous, Allegorical Scene of Rage and Madness, dated 1543.  This upright rectangular etching represents in reverse the scene of the oval stucco relief beneath the central picture of this wall.  The setting of the scene is more filled with landscape elements in the print, most of which, however, appear in the areas beyond the oval format of the relief.  In the background the architecture is slightly different from what appears in the relief but in both there is a small pedimented niche, door, or window at the upper center.  The reclining nude in the foreground wears a large turban in the print and has a simpler cloth or cap on his head in the relief, and where there is a dog in the etching there is a second boar in the stucco.

It is likely that the print is based upon a lost oval drawing by Rosso, which the etcher has slightly elaborated mainly in the areas that turn the scene into a rectangle.  The architecture in the print is not extended from that in the relief, which could however easily have been the case if the latter were the immediate model for the print.  What is not clear is whether the turban and dog in the print are an addition and replacement by the etcher.  In the relief the architecture has a curved wall and arch which respond in some degree to the oval shape of the relief, as occurs in other round and oval reliefs by Rosso.  A later drawing must have shown the changes in the background, and possibly the change of the headdress and the substitution of the dog by a boar.

E.139. Anonymous, Two groups of three putti playing on and before two garlands of fruit hanging from a mask in the center.

The long horizontal engraving combines, in reverse, the two scenes of the lower fresco of this wall, joining them by bringing the garlands together at a mask in the center which does not appear on this wall.  The engraving is slightly more similar to what appears in the gallery than to what is reproduced in the Vienna tapestry.  Nothing in the print requires that it be recognized as having been done from a lost drawing by Rosso rather than from a drawing made from the frescoes.  But it is likely that the former was the case.

E.64. Fantuzzi, Frame.

Although this etching is of an entire frame, surrounding a landscape, it actually shows at the left and right only the right half of the decoration of this wall in the gallery, the left side of the print showing this right half reversed.  But the two large nudes at the top play different kinds of trumpets which is not what appears in the gallery where they are the same.  The F held by both herms in the print appears only at the left in the gallery.  In the etching both F’s are seen in the same correct direction.  Instead of the oval relief under the large fresco in the gallery there is a lion’s head, and the stucco putti at the upper corners are missing from the etching.  At the lower corners in place of the stucco reliefs there are ovals with fruit in them.  The outer garland panels show motifs similar to those at the right side of the Vienna tapestry but unlike those of the wholly repainted garlands in the gallery.  The garland motifs in the etching resemble those in a copy of the right side of the wall in the Ensba (see below), which may indicate what was actually painted in the right panel.  The different instruments played by the large nudes may indicate that the etching is based on a lost drawing by Rosso, which is also suggested by the baldness of the lower putti, a characteristic that appears in some of his drawings.

One of Du Cerceau’s Petits Cartouches, E.57,4, appears to be based on Fantuzzi’s print.

COPIES, DRAWINGS: Besançon, Musée des Beaux-Arts, no. D.1647, Copy of the central fresco (Fig.Besançon D.1647).  Red chalk, edges of scene ruled in ink, 20.5 x 32.8; picture area, 19.3 x 32.5.  Inscribed in pencil at the left of bottom margin: rosso fiorentino and in ink in the lower center: a Fontanebleau au Gallory du Reynes.

PROVENANCE: Jean Gigoux (Lugt 1164).

LITERATURE: Kusenberg, 1931, 147, no. 1, as a copy of Rosso’s fresco, perhaps by Theodoor van Thulden.  Barocchi, 1950, 139, Fig. 114, as a copy of the painting.  Panofsky, 1958, 174, n. 102, as a record of this composition.  Berenson, 1961, 2393A, attributed it to Rosso.  Pouncey, 1964, 291, as a copy, not earlier than the seventeenth century.  Havercamp-Begemann and Logan, 1970, I, 329, as probably by the same hand as the copy of the Twins of Catania at Yale attributed to van Thulden.  Béguin and Pressouyre, 1972, 126, as probably a copy of a lost drawing.  Roy, 1977, 68, 76, n. 11, as by Van Thulden.  Wilson-Chevalier, 1982, 12, 16, n. 46, as Van Thulden after Rosso’s fresco.  Wood, 1990, 46, n. 41, the measurements as 20.9 x 32.9, and as by Abraham van Diepenbeeck.

A note in the catalogue at Besançon identifies this drawing as a French copy of the seventeenth century.  The drawing, in the same direction as Rosso’s fresco, was made from the painting at Fontainebleau, as its details clearly show.  A few changes have been made in the proportions of some of the figures and in the position of a few details, exaggerating the musculature of the combatants and in general giving them more hair.  The copy seems to be by the same hand as the copy of the Twins of Catania at Yale and the copy after Primaticcio given by Dimier, 1928, Pl. III, to van Thulden.

Paris, Bibliothèque de l’Institute, ms. 1015, Vol. 2, fol. 4, sketch at lower right.  Charles Percier, Copy of the left side of the wall.  Watercolor.  “Galerie,” RdA, 1972, 33, Fig. 48, 34, 43, n. 46 (Fig.Percier drawing 1).  This drawing of the late eighteenth century shows no differences from what appears in the gallery.

TAPESTRY: Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum, CV/3. 322 x 620 (for media, see below).  The tapestry (Fig.P.22, I S,Tapestry, a; Fig.P.22, I S,Tapestry, b; Fig.P.22, I S,Tapestry, c; Fig.P.22, I S,Tapestry, d) reproduces the full decoration of this wall and shows the original placement of the beams.  Aside from a certain amount of elaboration of the central picture, the tapestry shows two other alterations.  The heads of both reclining nudes above and the big toe of the right one are placed above the lateral beam which is not and never could have been the case with the frescoed figures in the gallery.  On the flag hanging from the trumpet held by the man at the right there are three stylized flowers set in and replacing the fleur-de-lis found in the gallery.  The garland panels at the outer edges appear illusionistically real rather than painted and confined as they look in the gallery.  The motifs of the right garland panel are found somewhat simplified in Fantuzzi’s print (E.64) and in the drawing in the Ensba (see Masson 2490 below).  It is very probable that the motifs shown in the tapestry are those that composed the original painted garlands in the gallery.

The “stucco” parts in shades of white and gray are the least well preserved parts of the tapestry; the very dark browns of the central picture have also deteriorated.  Otherwise the tapestry appears very well preserved.

The tonality of the center scene is very different from those of the other tapestries; it is more chiaroscural, giving a plastic and sculptural aspect to the picture.  The horses are gray and brown; the human flesh, gray to brown with some pink.  The drapery at the upper right is russet and is tied to the trees with green drapery.  In front of this drapery the man is wearing a yellow cape.  To the right of him a man has green armor on his back.  At the far right the man has pinkish drapery.  There is a bit of blue drapery at the lower right.  The vases on the ground and at the upper left are blue and gold.  In the center of the scene the white tablecloth is laid on another table cover with pink and gold panels that cast russet shadows.  The vase on the table is green and ochre.  The ground is green, the sky dark blue.

The nude at the upper left of the tapestry wears a blue turban with a few pink stripes; the flag is blue with pink trim and a gold salamander; there is pink drapery beneath and behind the figure, and a small passage of blue drapery behind that.  The nude at the upper right has a red turban; his back rests on pink-lavender drapery and there is dark green and yellow green drapery beneath his foot and behind him.

At the sides the “stucco” winged figures are set against a dark blue ground; the herms have light blue disks with gold emblems.  At the bottom of the side panels are two oval disks; the inner ones are blue, the outer ones white.  The blue ovals have gold frames. The ends of the tapestry are various shades of sky blue.

DRAWING: Paris, Ensba, Masson 2490 (formerly 3266).  Copy of the right side of the decoration (Fig.Masson 2490).  Pen and ink, 25.9 x 18.8.

PROVENANCE: on the verso: Vt Dut 96 no.195.; Jean Masson (Lugt 1494a).

The draughtsmanship of the drawing gives no sure indication that it was copied from a lost drawing by Rosso.  But its details also indicate that it was not derived from Fantuzzi’s etching (E.64).  In the drawing are depicted the top of the head and the big toe of the large reclining nude which do not appear in the gallery because the wall at this level is surmounted by a lateral wood beam.  But they are visible in the Vienna tapestry, and in the print where the beam is not shown.  Furthermore, the stucco’s putto at the upper right is seen foreshortened and his feet are overlapped by the “stucco” scroll beneath him as in the illusionistic tapestry.  However, other details indicate that the drawing was not copied from the tapestry, although the pig at the bottom of the garland is found there at the right.  It is probable that the drawing is related to the cartoon that was made for the tapestry, or to studies that were made for the cartoon.