RD.1 Figure in Mask and Costume

RD.1 Figure in Mask and Costume

Figure in Mask and Costume, as Flora or Spring?

Berlin, Staatliche Museen Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Kunstbibliothek, Hdz. 2382.


Pen and ink and brown wash, over traces of black chalk, with two lines of red chalk through the skirt and two red chalk loops in the upper left corner, 28.6 x 20.9; laid down.  Inscribed in ink at the upper right above the bouquet the figure holds: ung bouquet de fleur, and at the lower left: quelque chose de sub / sa guott [cancelled] guotte.

PROVENANCE: Destailleur Collection, no. 128 (Lugt 740, and Berckenhagen, below).


Berckenhagen, 1968, 12, and Fig. 2, as by Boyvin (?).

Berckenhagen, 1970, 32, with Fig., as Boyvin.

Béguin, 1970, 91-92, Fig. 28, as Boyvin.

Béguin, in EdF, 1972, 28, under no. 30, as by Rosso or his school.

Gifford, 1974, 393, as Rosso.

Brugerolles and Guillet, 1994, 110, n. 17.

Acton, in French Renaissance, 1994, 314, n. 3, under nos. 76-79, as with annotations that may have been meant for the costume maker.

Béguin, 1995, 192-193, on the basis of the drawings of masks in Ensba, Paris [see under RE.13], perhaps by Thiry, although hitherto it has been attributed to Boyvin.


Berckenhagen and Béguin related this drawing to the drawing of a Costumed Male Figure Carrying a Small Decorated Box in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris (Fig.RD.26).  In 1965-1966 Béguin questioned Rosso’s authorship of the Paris drawing, which had been recognized as Rosso’s by Kusenberg in 1931.  In 1964 I thought it was a copy of a lost drawing by Rosso.  Then in 1972, Béguin, following Berckenhagen, decided that Boyvin did the Paris drawing.  In 1935 Kusenberg thought the Paris drawing to be by Léonard Thiry, and Béguin brought his name up again in 1995.  I believe Clifford is right in saying that “there seems to be no reason to attribute [these two drawings in Berlin and Paris] to Boyvin.”  But I do not think he is correct in finding them to be by Rosso, although he thought the Paris drawing might be a contemporary copy.  He judged the Berlin sheet from a photograph.

I have seen both of these drawings and neither, individually, appears to me now to be by Rosso.  The style of the costumes, while related to those in Rosso’s Three Fates, Costume Designs, engraved by Boyvin (Fig.E.104), as Clifford indicated, is not intrinsically identifiable with Rosso’s style (on which see RD.26).  Furthermore, the draughtsmanship of the drawings, which I believe to be by the same hand (as I look at photographs of them), has not the precision of Rosso’s pen and ink and wash drawings, such as his Annunciation in the Albertina (Fig.D.43a) or his Design for a Tomb (Fig.D.81a).  The looseness of the draughtsmanship of the Berlin and Paris drawings seems at one with a casualness of the design of the costumes and of the description of the figures that suggest a specific artistic personality, but not Rosso’s.  A companion of these drawings is almost certainly the Costumed Male Figure Holding Two Torches engraved by Boyvin (Fig.RE.12).  But there is no evidence that Boyvin designed his own prints or even made the drawings from which he engraved his plates.  The drawings do not seem to be by Thiry.  They would, however, seem to follow from Rosso’s art but after Rosso’s death.