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  • Place of origin:

    Italy (made)

  • Date:

    1500-1600 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Perino del Vaga, born 1501 - died 1547 (drawn)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    pen and ink on violet tinted background

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C, case MB2A, shelf DR55, box CONS

This drawing shows three designs for vases on one page, each arranged in a rather gestural manner. The crowded nature of the composition suggests that this drawing represents an interim phase of the design process, and certainly one which is a fair distance away from any possible presentation drawing for the client. Subtle illustrations by the designer at the top of the uppermost two vases indicate a suggested arrangement of the flowers, and thus convey how the vases may be used in a practical situation. The third vase design (lower-left portion of the drawing) appears to refer to the vase design immediately above it, and indicates an alternative design for the plinth of the vase.
All three vase designs incorporate the figure of the caryatid. In classical Greek and Roman architecture the caryatid was a sculpted female figure serving as an architectural support, taking the place of a column or pillar, supporting the entablature/pediment on her head. In the 16th-century, this architectural motif was appropriated into the decorative arts, appearing in the design of objects such as candlestickes, table legs and vases, lending architectural weight and gravitas to domestic objects.

Physical description

Designs, three on one rectangular sheet for vases supported by Caryatids; top left, vase supported by two female figures seated on a simple classical plinth; bottom left, decorative plinth design; right, vase supported by three figures standing on a short plinth.

Place of Origin

Italy (made)


1500-1600 (made)


Perino del Vaga, born 1501 - died 1547 (drawn)

Materials and Techniques

pen and ink on violet tinted background

Marks and inscriptions

J. da Udine
bottom right; inscribed in ink in an old hand


Height: 225 mm, Width: 165 mm

Historical context note

The drawing has affinities with Guglielmo della Porta, who collaborated with Perino in the 1550s

Descriptive line

Del Vaga, designs for vases (three on one sheet) supported by caryatids.

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

Davidson, Bernice, Mostra di disegni di Perino del Vaga e la sua cerchia, Florence, 1966, p.76, no. 80
Ward-Jackson, Peter, Italian Drawings, Volume 1, 14th to 16th century, 1997, cat. no. 366.

Production Note

Formerly attributed to Giovanni da Udine. This attribution is made by Pouncey.


Pen and ink; Wash

Subjects depicted

Vase; Caryatid


Designs; Drawings; Vases


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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