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An Elderly Couple Entreated by a Young Woman
Luini, Aurelio
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Luini, Aurelio

Milan, 1530 - Milan, 1593

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An Elderly Couple Entreated by a Young Woman

Second half of the XVI century. Pencil, Grey-brown ink on blue paper.
Not on display

This impressive study is a rare example of Aurelio Luini´s finished drawings in pen. The artist is better known for his more rapid pen studies, a feature of which is a rather ragged, disorderly contour. Although there are indeed certain reminiscences of Federico Zuccaro´s compositional formulae -which reveals that the Prado study must have been drawn relatively late in Luini´s career- there are a number of reminiscences of the artist´s training with his father Bernardino, following in the tradition of Leonardo da Vinci, notably in the treatment of the rugged features of the old woman in the center of the composition.

The drawing´s subject matter remains obscure. At first glance it might be supposed that the figures are a group of listeners in a Preaching of the Baptist, with the young woman seated to the right pointing out the saint in the distance with her right hand. If this were so, the Prado drawing would show only the left half of the composition, the missing right portion presumably showing the Baptist surrounded by further spectators. However, none of the figures is looking to the right, contradicting this interpretation. Indeed, they seem absorbed by what the young woman is telling them. The seated man, who rather unconventionally rests his left leg on his down-turned club, and the elderly woman seem to receive the information with something verging on alarm. It seems more likely, therefore, that the subject is some story from ancient mythology, perhaps that of the god and goddess Vertumnus and Pomona, protectors of gardens. Vertumnus tried to woo Pomona in various guises, failing each time, until he gained access to her as an old woman. When like his previous stratagems this one too had no effect, he revealed himself to her in his true glory -as the handsome, youthful god that he was- winning her over at once (Text drawn from Turner, N.: From Michelangelo to Annibale Carracci. A century of Italian drawings from the Prado, Art Services International-Museo Nacional del Prado, 2008, p. 118).

Technical data

Inventory number
Luini, Aurelio
An Elderly Couple Entreated by a Young Woman
Second half of the XVI century
Pencil; Grey-brown ink
Blue paper
Height: 420 mm; Width: 275 mm
Bequest of Pedro Fernández Durán y Bernaldo de Quirós, 1931

Bibliography +

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo de dibujos. Dibujos italianos del siglo XVI (por Nicholas Turner, con la colaboración de José Manuel Matilla), V, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2004, pp. 118.

Turner, Nicholas, From Michelangelo to Annibale Carracci. A century of Italian drawings from the Prado, Art Services International, Chicago, 2008, pp. 118.

Other inventories +

Inv. Legado Pedro Fernández Durán, 1931. Núm. 1591.

Exhibitions +

De Miguel Ángel a Annibale Carracci. Un siglo de Dibujos Italianos en el Museo del Prado
25.10.2008 - 26.07.2009

Un siglo de dibujos italianos en el Museo del Prado. De Miguel Ángel a Annibale Carracci
23.11.2004 - 13.02.2005

Update date: 04-11-2021 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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