Three Groups of Nude Men and Two Single Figures in Positions of Combat and Repose
Florence, Uffizi, no. 476F.
Red chalk, 23 x 32.1, laid down, no wm. visible.
Berenson, 1903, 1938, 1961, no. 2400, as Rosso.
Kusenberg, 1931, 136, 139, no. 8, as Rosso.
Briganti, 1945, Fig. 30 (upper part of drawing), as Rosso.
Barocchi, 1950, 159, Fig. 169, as Rosso at the end of his Florentine period.
Longhi, 1951, 59 (1976, 99), as not by Rosso.
Marcucci, 1958, 35, 37, Fig. 20, 39, ns. 40 and 47, as Bachiacca, around 1540-1550/1555.
Cox-Rearick, 1964, I, 175, n. 20, under no. 124, the upper left group related to the central group of the Annointing of an Athlete in Pontormo’s drawing in London (1860-6-16-106-107).
Carroll, 1964 (1976), II, Bk. 2, 451-452, F. 4, Bk. 3, Fig. 141, as Bachiacca, of uncertain date, but related to Pontormo’s drawing (see above) and hence later than it.
Florence, Figura, 1, 1991, 476F, with Fig. and bibliography, as Bachiacca.
Neither the schematic notation that describes the heads, hands, and feet of the figures, nor the bluntness of the lines of shading, find correspondences in any drawings certainly by Rosso. In 1964 I accepted Marcucci’s attribution to Bachiacca, although I questioned her late dating. I am not so sure of that attribution now. Cox-Rearick and I had independently recognized the similarity between the scene in the upper left corner of the Uffizi drawing, where a standing male nude appears to be washed by two other nudes, and the similar scene in Pontormo’s drawing in London that has been connected to the wall in the Medici villa at Poggio a Caiano where Pontormo painted his Vertumnus and Pomona in 1520-1521.1 Cox-Rearick thought that the two drawings may go back to the same original, perhaps a drawing by Michelangelo for the Cascina cartoon. But it does not seem that the unusual subject that connects these two drawings can be related to the Cascina project. The somewhat squat proportions of the figures, the splayed drawing of the feet, and the drawing of some of the bald heads might well indicate that the Uffizi drawing goes more directly back to a lost drawing or drawings by Pontormo for the same Poggio a Caiano fresco. Pontormo’s draughtsmanship has become formulaic in the hands of the imitator.
That said, I still have reservations about taking this drawing from Rosso. The twenty full figures – there are also three half figures sketched at the left edge – are only about 7 or 8 centimeters high and can be easily related to figures in only one certain autograph drawing by Rosso, the St. Roch Distributing His Inheritance to the Poor, in the Louvre (Fig.D.13). At the upper left, and somewhat less so at the upper right, the small figures might bear some resemblance to those in the Uffizi drawing. The head of the bald, bearded father in bed might be similar to the head of the figure being washed at the upper left in the Uffizi drawing. Otherwise, the small nude figures might be seen as corresponding to some extent to the more precisely described figures in the upper level of Caraglio’s Challenge of the Pierides (Fig.E.25b). However, the schematic notations for heads, hands, and splayed feet in the Uffizi drawing cannot be found quite the same in any drawing surely by Rosso. A playfulness in the drawing seems also unlike anything in his drawings. What is needed for proof are sketches certainly by Rosso and none has yet been identified.