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Florentine School, late 16th Century
Florentine School, late 16th Century

An 18th Century leather-bound album, the covers with double gold fillet borders with blocked corner pieces, the spine in six compartments with raised bands lettered in the second 'Bernard Pocche tti', the others with a repeat decoration in gilt, the front free endpaper with a brown ink 18th Century inscription 'Disegni di Bernardino Poccetti', the rear endpaper with two pencil sketches including a suggested layout for picture hanging, containing 73 mounted drawings of portraits, landscapes, figure studies, grotesques and copies after the antique and other Renaissance sculptors, most with 18th Century identifications of the artist or source of inspiration, 'Poccetti', 'Dall' antico', 'Beccafumi' and 'Caravaggio' in ink by a single hand, and including: - Two self-portraits in black and red chalk and seven other portraits in the same technique - Four views of Florence, respectively inscribed 'Veduta della Badia di Vaiano', 'Veduta di Firenze; disegta da Monti Olivetto', 'Veduta di firenze; dis:ta: da la nane, fuor della Porta a San friano' and 'Veduta del Palazzo. e Chiesa di Castello; dis:ta dal'Palazzo della Patraia' - 26 figure drawings after life, seventeen in red chalk and nine in black chalk - Eight copies after antique sculpture of Pan, Apollo, the Farnese Flora and heads, and two copies after Verrocchio's David - 26 drawings for Ariosto's Orlando Furioso in black chalk - A copy in black chalk after Raphael's Holy Family, possibly based on Raimondi's print (Bartsch XIV, 69) - Several counterproofs of missing drawings on the pages of the album

Details
Florentine School, late 16th Century
An 18th Century leather-bound album, the covers with double gold fillet borders with blocked corner pieces, the spine in six compartments with raised bands lettered in the second 'Bernard Pocche tti', the others with a repeat decoration in gilt, the front free endpaper with a brown ink 18th Century inscription 'Disegni di Bernardino Poccetti', the rear endpaper with two pencil sketches including a suggested layout for picture hanging, containing 73 mounted drawings of portraits, landscapes, figure studies, grotesques and copies after the antique and other Renaissance sculptors, most with 18th Century identifications of the artist or source of inspiration, 'Poccetti', 'Dall' antico', 'Beccafumi' and 'Caravaggio' in ink by a single hand, and including:

- Two self-portraits in black and red chalk and seven other portraits in the same technique
- Four views of Florence, respectively inscribed 'Veduta della Badia di Vaiano', 'Veduta di Firenze; disegta da Monti Olivetto', 'Veduta di firenze; dis:ta: da la nane, fuor della Porta a San friano' and 'Veduta del Palazzo. e Chiesa di Castello; dis:ta dal'Palazzo della Patraia'
- 26 figure drawings after life, seventeen in red chalk and nine in black chalk
- Eight copies after antique sculpture of Pan, Apollo, the Farnese Flora and heads, and two copies after Verrocchio's David
- 26 drawings for Ariosto's Orlando Furioso in black chalk
- A copy in black chalk after Raphael's Holy Family, possibly based on Raimondi's print (Bartsch XIV, 69)
- Several counterproofs of missing drawings on the pages of the album
8¼ x 6 in. (208 x 153 mm.) and smaller; the album 10.3/8 x 7.7/8 in. (265 x 200 mm.) (73)

Lot Essay

These drawings were possibly executed by one or several artists working in Florence in the late 1580s, assembled and mounted in Italy in the 18th Century and most probably acquired by a foreign traveller on his Grand Tour. Taking the drawings roughly in sequence, several groups emerge:
The first part of the album is dominated by a series of life studies for which the artist seems to have used his studio assistants as models. These show the strong influence of the draughtsmanship of the Carracci Academy, active in Bologna from the late 1580s. Following this section is group of copies after Perino del Vaga's Genoese frescoes and a series of scenes illustrating Ariosto's Orlando Furioso, both revealing the shorthand of an artist recording compositions seen on his travels. The final part of the album contains a group of portraits, some of which are evidently of the artist himself. These, together with four views of Florence executed in the same technique combining red and black chalk, show the influence of Federico Zuccaro who worked at the Duomo in the city in the late 1570s. In general, however, these drawings seem to have been executed by an artist of the generation after Federico, such as Andrea Boscoli, Andrea Commodi, Cristofano Allori or Jacopo da Empoli.
The other studies with which these main groups are interspersed, mostly after antique or Renaissance sculpture in Florence or frescoes such as Pontormo's decorations for the Medici villa at Poggio a Caiano, are weaker examples of the draughtsman's art.
The question of attribution centres on whether the drawings are the product of one hand or several. Those in favour of a single artist point out that a Florentine of the 16th Century would have been highly trained in the academic tradition, and would have mastered several styles of draughtsmanship: one for life-studies, another for copies after the Masters and yet another for portraits. This argument is supported by the observation that one of the sheets combines a shorthand illustration for Ariosto with a study of birds in flight drawn in the differing technique used for the landscapes and portraits. Another sheet combines a red chalk life study on the left-hand side with a red and black chalk portrait on the right.
It has been noted that two of the chalk portraits show strong similaries to drawings by Joseph Heintz the Elder (1564-1609), for example the portraits of Aegidius Sadeler and Giambologna in the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung, Munich and in the Julius Held Collection, in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, respectively (J. Zimmer, Prag um 1600, exhib. cat., Kulturstiftung, Essen, 1988, no. 206 and T. DaCosta Kaufmann, Drawings from the Holy Roman Empire, 1540-1680, exhib. cat., The Art Museum, Princeton University and elsewhere, 1982, no. 55). Heintz travelled to Italy from 1584 to 1589, visiting Florence, Venice and Rome. The two Heintz portraits date from about this period: that of Giambologna was probably executed in Florence around 1587 and that of Sadeler is dated by Zimmer to 1591-3, shortly after the artist's return to Switzerland.
A full list of the drawings contained in this album will be available on request at the time of viewing.
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