Giorgio Vasari (Arezzo 1511-1574 Florence)
From the Collection of Jean Bonna
Giorgio Vasari (Arezzo 1511-1574 Florence)

The Nativity

Giorgio Vasari (Arezzo 1511-1574 Florence)
The Nativity
black chalk, pen and brown ink, brown wash
9 5/8 x 6 ½ in. (24.3 x 16.5 cm)
Prof. Eugène Susini, Berlin, Vienna and Paris; Paris, Hôtel Drouot, 4 June 1982, lot 80 (as Florentine school, 16th Century).
Dr. Michel Gaud; Sotheby's, Monaco, 20 June 1987, lot 35.
L. Corti, Vasari. Catalogo completo dei dipinti, Florence, 1989, p. 46, under no. 27.
F. Härb, Giorgio Vasari (1511-1574). Die Zeichnungen, Ph.D. dissertation, University of Vienna, 1994, no. 82.
F. Härb, 'Two Drawings for Vasari's Lost 'Nativity' in Arezzo and a Fresco by Jacopo Zucchi', Master Drawings, XXXVI, no. 2, 1998, p. 181, fig. 2.
P. Bjurström, C. Loisel and E. Pilliod, Italian Drawings. Florence, Siena, Modena, Bologna, Stockholm, 2002, under no. 1187.
N. Strasser, Dessins italiens de la Renaissance au siècle des Lumières. Collection Jean Bonna, Geneva, 2010, no. 39, ill.
S. Gregory, Vasari and the Renaissance Print, Farnham, 2012, p. 341.
F. Härb, The Drawings of Giorgio Vasari (1511-1575), Rome, 2015, no. 64, ill., p. 242, under no. 97, p. 616, under no. 423.

Brought to you by

Furio Rinaldi
Furio Rinaldi

Check the condition report or get in touch for additional information about this

If you wish to view the condition report of this lot, please sign in to your account.

Sign in
View condition report

Lot Essay

The present drawing is a preparatory study for the Nativity frescoed by Vasari in 1542 in the convent of S. Margherita in his native Arezzo. Destroyed during World War II, the painting is known from a photograph (Corti, op. cit., no. 27, ill.) and from a smaller replica on slate showing the same composition (Härb, op. cit., 2015, no. 64.3, ill.). In developing the motif of the Child playing with the Virgin's veil, Vasari was clearly inspired by Raphael's Madonna of Loreto (Musée Condé, Chantilly), a work he praised in the Vite. Over a rapid study of black chalk, Vasari worked up the composition in pen and brown ink and wash in his characteristic style. While only one other study for the S. Margherita fresco has survived, a detailed study of Saint Joseph in Stockholm (ibid., no. 65, ill.), the architectural motif in the background also appears in a sheet in the Louvre (ibid., no. 97, ill.), which Härb tentatively considers an early study for the conventual fresco.

More from Old Master & British Drawings Including Works from the Collection of Jean Bonna

View All
View All