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Drawing - Roman Sacrifice
  • Roman Sacrifice
    Cortona, Pietro da Pietro Berrettini Pietro de Cortona Pedro de Cortona Piero da Cortona Pierre da Cortone Pierre da Cortonne Pierre de Cortonne Pietra della Cortone Pitro da Cortona Pietro Bennettini, born 1596 - died 1669
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Roman Sacrifice

  • Object:

    Drawing

  • Place of origin:

    Italy (probably, drawn)

  • Date:

    1615-1669 (drawn)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Cortona, Pietro da Pietro Berrettini Pietro de Cortona Pedro de Cortona Piero da Cortona Pierre da Cortone Pierre da Cortonne Pierre de Cortonne Pietra della Cortone Pitro da Cortona Pietro Bennettini, born 1596 - died 1669 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pen and bistre, washed and heightened with white

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Rev. Alexander Dyce

  • Museum number:

    DYCE.200

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level H, case DG, shelf 116

Physical description

Roman sacrifice (to Diana?); A priest in the act of slaying a bull on the left; and a second sacrifice of a goat on the right, before the Temple of Mars; Pen and bistre, washed and heightened with white; Signed 'P. da Cortona'.

Place of Origin

Italy (probably, drawn)

Date

1615-1669 (drawn)

Artist/maker

Cortona, Pietro da Pietro Berrettini Pietro de Cortona Pedro de Cortona Piero da Cortona Pierre da Cortone Pierre da Cortonne Pierre de Cortonne Pietra della Cortone Pitro da Cortona Pietro Bennettini, born 1596 - died 1669 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Pen and bistre, washed and heightened with white

Marks and inscriptions

Signed 'P. da Cortona'.

Dimensions

Height: 10.8 in, Width: 17.1 in

Object history note

A print exists of this subject engraved by Bartolozzi.

Descriptive line

Da Cortona, Pietro; Roman sacrifice (to Diana?); A priest slaying a bull; and a second sacrifice of a goat, before the Temple of Mars; Pen and bistre, washed and heightened with white; Signed; Italian; 1615-1669.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

DYCE COLLECTION. A Catalogue of the Paintings, Miniatures, Drawings, Engravings, Rings and Miscellaneous Objects Bequeathed by The Reverend Alexander Dyce. London : South Kensington Museum, 1874.
Ward-Jackson, Peter, Italian Drawings, Volume Two: 17th-18th Century , London, 1979, p.41 , cat. n. 678, illus

The following is the full text of the entry:

CORTONA, PIETRO DA Pietro Berretini
(1596-1669)
678
A sacrifice to Diana
Inscribed along the lower edge in black ink 'P. da Cortona no. 20' and in red ink '82'; also inscribed on the mount in ink
‘P. Cortona etched by Bartolozzi'
Pen and ink and brown wash heightened with white over red chalk
11 1/8 x 17 1/4 (283 x 438) Dyce 200
PROVENANCE Dyce Bequest 1869
LITERATURE Dyce Catalogue no. 200 (as by Cortona); G. Brett, 'A seventeenth century sketchbook' in The Bulletin of The Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, 1958, p. 8 and pl, 5; Briganti, pp. 255 and 306; R. Roli, I disegni italiani del Seicento, Rome, 1969,
pl. 141; p. 108
composition is similar (though reversed) to an oil painting by Cortona which was in the Barberini Gallery in Rome, was sold to Hitler during the war and cannot now be traced. (Briganti, pI. 265; Voss, Barock, p. 264, and R. Wittkower, Art and architecture in Italy 1600-1750, 1958, pl. 88b.) The drawing represents an early and experimental stage in the evolution of the composition. In the picture Cortona reversed the whole design and introduced various other substantial changes, particularly in the space between the temple and the monolith. Even in the drawing he made a radical alteration here by cutting out about six square inches of paper and inlaying a new piece on which he drew the sacrifice of an ox, a scene not shown in the picture. He extended the drawing half an inch on the right side by pasting on another strip of paper.
There is an etching of the drawing, of exactly the same size, by Bartolozzi (Baudi di Vesme, Francesco Bartolozzi, Catalogue des estampes, Milan, 1928, no. 401).
A drawing by Cortona in a sketch-book in the Royal Ontario Museum shows the temple and the group round the altar; a separate study of the altar appears on another page (Brett, loc. cit., pI. 4). A drawing in the Woodner Collection, in the USA, shows the composition as executed in the painting (Frederick G. Schab, Woodner Collection I. A selection of old master drawings before 1700, New York, 1971, pl. 49). In 1964 Messrs Colnaghi's of London had a terra-cotta bas-relief that reproduced the design of the painting, but reversed.
A bill for the frame of the picture is dated 1631 (I. Lavin, 'Pietro da Cortona documents from the Barberini archive' in The Burlington Magazine, 112, 1970, pp. 450-51). This disposes of the belief, formerly widely held, that the picture was painted in 1653 to celebrate the return of the Barberini family to Rome after their banishment, the theory being that the subject was taken (as, indeed, it may have been, notwithstanding the new date) from Xenophon's Anabasis (Book 5, eh, 3), in which a sacrifice to Diana is described as a thanks offering for a safe return home.

Materials

Pen; Bistre

Techniques

Drawing; Heightening; Wash technique

Subjects depicted

Temple; Goat; Priest; Bull

Categories

Drawings

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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