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    Sale 11787

    Old Master & British Drawings

    5 July 2016, London, King Street

  • Lot 10

    Jacopo Ligozzi (Verona circa 1547-circa 1627 Florence)

    Ocnus: An allegory of the Futility of Labour

    Price Realised  


    Jacopo Ligozzi (Verona circa 1547-circa 1627 Florence)
    Ocnus: An allegory of the Futility of Labour
    with inscription 'Giorgio Vasari' (erased)
    black chalk, pen and brown ink, brown wash, heightened with white, on blue paper, the outlines partially indented for transfer and the verso reddened for transfer
    7 7/8 x 6 in. (19.8 x 15 cm.)

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    While many of Ligozzi's drawings were executed as works of art in their own right, the partially incised outlines and reddened verso of this drawing indicate that it may have been a preparatory study for a print. A small number of Ligozzi's drawings were reproduced in chiaroscuro woodcuts by Andrea Andreani (circa 1546-1623), but no print related to this drawing is known. It shows Ocnus (or Oknos), who was a figure symbolic of futility, or unending labour. Ocnus was condemned to spend eternity weaving a rope of straw which was eaten by a donkey almost as fast as it was made. Another allegorical drawing by Ligozzi, showing Avarice, and also executed in a highly finished style, is in the National Gallery of Art, Washington (Inv. 1984.56.1).


    M.-G.-T. de Villenave (L. 2598); possibly Alliance des Arts, Paris, 1-6 December 1842, [lot number unknown].
    L.Valentin (L. 2498, on the old mount).
    Francesco Dubini, Milan.
    Ulrico Hoëpli, Milan.
    Anonymous sale; Finarte, Milan, 21-22 April 1975, lot 43.
    with Margot Gordon, New York, 1987.
    with Jean-Luc Baroni at P. & D. Colnaghi, London, 1992, no. 17, ill.
    Private collection, Connecticut.
    with Stephen Ongpin Fine Art, An exhibition of Master Drawings, New York, 2010, no. 6.