The central fresco: c. 1.68 x c. 2.455 m.
Around 1686 (Guilbert, 1731, I, 100, as 1684; Pressouyre, “Cadre architectural,” 1972, 15, 22, n. 19, as work ordered in 1686 and begun in 1688; and Binenbaum and Pressouyre, 1972, 92, as 1684), a door was let into this wall to give access to a newly constructed large stairway replacing a small door slightly farther to the west that led to the original small stairway. The original left stucco panel was destroyed and then remade and divided so that half of it is on either side of the door. Originally what was here probably resembled, in its architecture and in what appears beneath it, the composition at the right. From Dan it is known that there was a sacrificial scene with a bull at the left. The figures of this sculptural group would seem to be reproduced in an etching by Du Cerceau (E.55,1; see below). The bearded head at the upper right occupies the space where the beam once was. Here the garlands may have hung from a ring, as in Du Cerceau’s print, a ring which may have been attached to the crossbeam.
Scene of Sacrifice – First Version
PREPARATORY DRAWINGS: D.50A-D (COPIES). Göttingen, Kunstsammlung der Universität (Fig.D.50A); Paris, Ensba, Masson Collection 1196 (Fig.D.50B); Paris, Louvre, inv. no. 1574 (Fig.D.50Ca); France, Private Collection (Fig.D.50D), Scene of Sacrifice. These four drawings are derived from a single lost drawing by Rosso the original graphic appearance of which must have been most similar to the partial copy in the Ensba. This lost drawing was for an early version of the Scene of Sacrifice.
D.51. Rosso. (REVERSED COPY). Paris, Ensba, Masson 858. Attributed to Étienne Delaune, Scene of Sacrifice (D.51).
The composition of this drawing, that is the model for the print attributed to Étienne Delaune, is almost identical to that of the copies of the other lost drawing (D.50A-D) but in the former the mouldings of the altar are completed and the landscape forms and distant architecture are slightly different. However, the draughtsmanship of this very finished drawing, which looks like Étienne Delaune’s, is not like Rosso’s. The draughtsman could have finished the schematic aspects of Rosso’s altar. But this drawing does have one more figure, the small child at the far left (and at the far right in the print). This figure does not appear in the Göttingen copy, where the two woman above this child are also posed somewhat differently. A child does, however, appear in this place in the second version of this scene executed in the gallery. These circumstances may make it possible to recognize the very finished Ensba drawing as dependent upon another and slightly later lost drawing by Rosso in which the architecture of the altar was also finished.
PRINT: E.50. Attributed to Étienne Delaune, Scene of Sacrifice (E.50). This engraving is specifically dependent upon the drawing in the Ensba (D.51; see above).
Scene of Sacrifice – Final Version
PREPARATORY DRAWINGS: D.64 (COPY). Paris, Ensba, no. 11929, Scene of Sacrifice (D.64). This pen and ink line drawing, the draughtsmanship of which closely resembles Rosso’s, is a copy of a lost drawing for the fresco that was executed in the gallery. The original drawing probably had washes and perhaps white highlights. On the altar the drawing shows harpies instead of griffins, the fleur-de-lis does not appear on the medallion, the entablatures at the upper right have not their final moulding, some babies are bald that have hair in the fresco, and the foremost vase bearer has a passage of drapery across his back. The flames of the altar in the gallery are more painterly and less tongue-like than they are in the drawing.
D.65A, B, C (COPIES). Haarlem, Teyler Foundation (Fig.D.65A); St. Petersburg, Hermitage no. 16562 (Fig.D.65B); Turin, Biblioteca Reale, no. 15661 (Fig.D.65C). T hese three pen and ink and wash drawings are copies that go back to a second lost drawing that is identical to the first except for two details. The shield on the altar has a convex surface and does not show the “Royal F” encircled by a crown, and the foremost vasebearer does not have a passage of drapery running down his back. In the omission of this last detail these copies more closely resemble the fresco. It is most probable that the lost drawing represented by these copies served as the model for Fantuzzi’s etching (see below).
Two drawings related to the Scene of Sacrifice, in a private collection in Paris, and in a private collection in New York are listed by Béguin and Pressouyre, 1972, 138, as “Rosso(?).” It has not been possible to see or obtain photographs of these drawings. Béguin informed me that the New York drawing is in the Wildenstein Collection, but this seems to be a mistaken recollection of the Wildenstein drawing of The Royal Elephant (D.54C).
D.52 (COPY). Paris, Ensba, Masson 811, Dance of the Dryads (D.52). This drawing is related to the small painting under the Scene of Sacrifice and would seem to be a copy of a lost drawing for this small scene. The painting, an early restoration in the gallery, does not show the tree nor any of the other landscape and floral details that appear in the drawing, and the two figures at the left are dressed differently. It is unlikely that the painting ever showed a tree for which there would have been no room above the heads of the dryads. Hence, the lost drawing would have been a first drawing replaced by another of a somewhat reduced scene that served as the model for the picture in the gallery. The copy itself served as the disegno di stampa for Pierre Milan’s reversed engraving (see below). Milan or someone in his shop may have made this copy.
PRINTS: E.77. Fantuzzi, Scene of Sacrifice (E.77). This etching, in reverse of the fresco in the gallery, is most probably based on the lost second drawing mentioned above of which three copies are known. The details of the print are virtually identical to those of these copies. A very few details have been added, such as the egg-and-dart moulding and the interior oval rim of the oval of the altar. The print, however, is slightly wider than the drawing and shows at the far left a little more of the ruined wall that passes through the arcade. It also shows a purse hanging from the waist of the old man. Farther back there appear two arches and an entablature with triglyphs that are not visible in the drawings.
E.102. Pierre Milan, Dance of the Dryads, Zerner P.M.1 (E.102). This engraving is related to the small painting under the Scene of Sacrifice, but is in reverse of it. The print is derived from the copy of a lost drawing in the Ensba in Paris (see above, and D.52).
There are two anonymous copies of this print (E.135 and E.136) and possibly a third (see under E.142).
E.55,2. Du Cerceau, Frame with the Sacrifice of a Ram (E.55,2). The central motif of this etching is related to the stucco panel at the right of this wall. The etching is in the same direction. See following print.
E.55,1. Du Cerceau, Frame with the Sacrifice of a Bull (E.55,1). The two men and the bull at the right of this etching probably represent with some variation the destroyed stucco panel at the left of this wall. The degree of accuracy of the etching can be judged to some extent by that of the other etching by Du Cerceau (see above) that is related to the stucco panel at the right end of this wall. Dan mentioned that the scene at the left represented the Sacrifice of a Bull. It is likely that its architecture was the same as that of the right panel and probably had the same trumpet-playing putti underneath, as Du Cerceau shows. The outside columns of the etching are like those at the right and there is one small column in the background that could be a remnant of the original scene. The lantern is probably also authentic as well as the garlands and the ring above from which they hang. The ring would have been attached to the crossbeam in the gallery. As to the disposition of the two men and the bull, it seems likely that the print reproduces the stucco group better than does the other etching of its corresponding scene in the gallery, for the large bull probably did have to fill a large area of the relief unless it was severely foreshortened, as is no other large stucco figure in the gallery. This and the other etching were probably based upon drawings by Rosso made for the gallery, which may account for some of the differences that exist between the prints and what the stuccoes show.