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Oil painting - Two Putti blowing horns
  • Two Putti blowing horns
    Perino del Vaga, born 1501 - died 1547
  • Enlarge image

Two Putti blowing horns

  • Object:

    Oil painting

  • Place of origin:

    Italy (painted)

  • Date:

    early 16th century (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Perino del Vaga, born 1501 - died 1547 (painted by)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oil on beech panel

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Bernard H. Webb

  • Museum number:

    W.161-1919

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, room WS, case R, shelf 78, box R

Perino del Vaga (1501-1547) was an Italian painter and draughtsman trained in Florence. Around 1515 he moved to Rome where he drew from works of antiquity and Michelangelo’s ceiling in the Sistine Chapel and joined Raphael’s workshop, where he learnt stucco work and how to design grotesques, through assisting Giovanni da Udine in the Vatican Logge (ca. 1518-19)
W.161-1919 recalls Perino's 'grotesque' decorations, small motifs, including scrollwork, architectural elements and whimsical human figures inspired by the recent discovery of the Domus Aurea of Nero in Rome, which Perino frescoed in the Vatican Logge and in the Palazzo Doria, Genoa ca. 1520-30.
The ancient motif of dancing and music playing putti became increasingly popular following the success of Donatello's Prato Pulpit (1483) and his Cantoria (1439) or 'Singers Gallery' for the Cathedral of Florence. Both monuments were decorated with reliefs depicting animated music playing putti or spiritelli who were understood as embodiments of the very sound and music emmited from the structures they decorated. Dancing and scroll carrying putti also became popular with printmakers and appear for example in the so-called 'otto prints' attributed to Baccio Baldini (British Museum, 1852,0424.8). The V&A panel has been cut down on all sides and must have formed part of a series of decorations, perhaps inspired by such prints, for a domestic interior, probably a piece of furniture or set into wall panelling. During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries in Italy, artists were often commissioned to create painted wooden furnishings for the domestic interior, especially for the camera (bedchamber) of wealthy private palaces. The decoration often included subjects associated with fertility, maternity, childbirth, marriage and fidelity and could include references to the patrons through inclusion of their coat of arms and heraldic colours, or of their personal motto or device. Similar playful putti were also often depicted on friezes on the interior and exterior of palaces. In both composition and style W.161-1919 recalls the drawings for no longer extant friezes ca. 1530s of Perino del Vaga and the Sienese artist Domenico Beccafumi (1484?-1551) for the Palazzo of Admiral Andrea Doria in Genoa although the V&A panel was evidently executed swiftly and with less skill than either of these masters.

Physical description

Two nude putti stride towards the right, encircled by ribbons and playing curved horn trumpets in a landscape

Place of Origin

Italy (painted)

Date

early 16th century (painted)

Artist/maker

Perino del Vaga, born 1501 - died 1547 (painted by)

Materials and Techniques

Oil on beech panel

Dimensions

Diameter: 17.7 cm approx.

Object history note

Bequeathed by B. H. Webb, 1919. Fragment of a decorative scheme, cut on all sides.
According to acquisition file, it was acquired asa : ‘Circular wooden panel, two cupids blowing horns; in wooden frame’

Bernard Hugh Webb (d. 1919), Architect L.R.I.B.A. and
Gold medallist of the Royal Academy
He lived at 5 Gray’s Inn Square, and later 14 South Square, Gray’s Inn
and Newlands cottage, Gosmore, nr. Hitchein, Hertfordshire

During his lifetime and after his death he gave a variety of objects to the Museum including plaster casts, Japanese paint brushes, furniture, architectural drawings of Italian architecture by himself and other artists, etchings, photographs, reliefs, Chinese porcelain, Italian maiolica and other pottery and glass, candlesticks, a crucifix, rare books, marble sculpture, silverware, bronzes, rugs and paintings.

Historical significance: Perino del Vaga (1501-1547) was an Italian painter and draughtsman trained in Florence. According to Vasari, he practised drawing by copying Michelangelo’s cartoon for the Battle of Cascina (destr.). Around 1515 he moved to Rome where he drew from works of antiquity and Michelangelo’s ceiling in the Sistine Chapel and joined Raphael’s workshop, where he learnt stucco work and how to design grotesques, through assisting Giovanni da Udine in the Vatican Logge. After the death of Raphael (1520) and the Sack of Rome (1527) Perino worked in Florence and Genoa, returning to Rome in 1538.

W.161-1919 recalls Perino's 'grotesque' frescoes in the Vatican Loggie ca. 1518-19 and in the Palazzo Doria at Genoa ca. 1520-30. These decorations are composed of small, motifs, including scrollwork, architectural elements, whimsical human figures and fantastic beasts, inspired by the archaeological discovery at the end of the 15th century, of the ancient Roman interiors of the Domus Aurea of Nero in Rome.

The ancient motif of dancing and music playing putti became increasingly popular following the success of Donatello's Prato Pulpit (1483) and his Cantoria (1439) or 'Singers Gallery' for the Cathedral of Florence. Both monuments were decorated with reliefs depicting animated music playing putti or spiritelli who were understood as embodiments of the very sound and music emmited from the structures they decorated.
Dancing and scroll carrying putti also became popular with printmakers and appear for example in the so-called 'otto prints' attributed to Baccio Baldini (British Museum, 1852,0424.8).
The V&A panel has been cut down on all sides and must have formed part of a series of decorations for a domestic interior, perhaps inspired by these prints, and was probably inserted into a piece of furniture or wall panelling. Similar mischievous putti were often depicted on friezes on both the interior and exterior of palaces. In both composition and style W.161-1919 recalls the drawings for no longer extant friezes ca. 1530s of Perino del Vaga and Domenico Beccafumi (1484?-1551) for the Palazzo of Admiral Andrea Doria in Genoa although the V&A panel was evidently executed swiftly and with less skill than either of these Masters.

Historical context note

During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries in Italy, artists were often commissioned to create painted wooden furnishings for the domestic interior, especially for the camera (bedchamber) of wealthy private palaces. Such works were generally commissioned to celebrate a new marriage or the birth of a child and could include a lettiera (bed), spalliera or cornicioni (a painted frieze), a cassapanca (bench-chest) and a set of cassone (marriage chests) among other objects and furnishings. The decoration often included subjects associated with fertility, maternity, childbirth, marriage and fidelity and could include references to the patrons through inclusion of their coat of arms and heraldic colours, or of their personal motto or device.

Descriptive line

Oil painting, 'Two Putti Blowing Horns' (fragment of a decorative scheme), Follower of Perino del Vaga, early 16th century

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

Kauffmann, C.M., Catalogue of Foreign Paintings, I. Before 1800. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1973, p. 150, cat. no. 178.

Production Note

Bequeathed to the Museum in 1919 as by Annibale Carracci. Described by Kauffmann (1973) as Italian school, 16th Century.

Materials

Oil paint; Beech

Techniques

Oil painting

Subjects depicted

Horns; Putti

Categories

Paintings; Interiors

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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