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Apollo and the Muses
Balducci, Giovanni
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Balducci, Giovanni

Florence, 1560 - Naples

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Apollo and the Muses

Early Último cuarto del siglo XVI - XVII century. Wash, Pencil, Pencil ground, Grey-brown ink on paper. Not on display

Although published by Perez Sanchez as Naldini in 1978, a recent note on the modern museum mount in the hand of Mario di Giampaolo rightly suggests this drawing is by his pupil and close follower Balducci (for whom see Exh. Cat. 60). The light, almost racy pen-and-wash style is indeed more in keeping with Balducci´s compositional drawings than those in this same medium by his master Naldini, which are heavier in touch, more angular in line and show a far stronger trace of the work of his own artistic forebears, Pontormo and Vasari (1511-1574). Also much in evidence here is another feature of Balduccci´s figures, namely their fiat, shovel-shaped faces, as Julian Brooks has described them (Oxford, London and elsewhere, 2003-04, no. 4).

On the other hand, in his discussion of the Prado drawing, Perez Sanchez pointed out its clear compositional connection, with differences, to Naldini´s painting of the subject in the Museo Civico Borgogna,Vercelli (Barocchi, 1965, p. 265, fig. 109b). He went on to claim that it is a preparatory study for the Vercelli picture, although he noted at the same time that the painted version seems to lose something of the rhythmical and serene arrangement of the drawing, retreating into a kind of Mannerist imbalance, where the evident Roman echoes [presumably of the compositions of the subject by Raphael, Taddeo Zuccaro and others] give way to a sense of preciousness in what may be termed a neo-Bronzinesque compromise.

The solution to the problem may well be that Balducci was merely copying one of his master´s painted composition, either in homage or as a simple exercise in drawing. At least one other instance of Balducci doing just this is known, namely his brush and wash copy after Naldini´s altarpiece of The Lamentation in S. Maria Novella, Florence, painted in 1572, which is in the British Museum, London (inv. no. 1950-4-1-5; London, 1986, no. 178). Although the British Museum drawing is more heavily worked than the Prado sheet and there are more contrasts between the lights and darks to suggest the somber chiaroscuro effects found in the painted model, nonetheless there are exact analogies in touch and in the lightness of the figure types to those found in here. If it is accepted that the Prado drawing is indeed by Balducci, perhaps the younger artist was simply given the instruction to copy his master´s painting for the purposes of record before it was handed over to the patron.

Another possibility is that the Vercelli picture, together with a further preparatory drawing connected with the composition in the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung, Munich, traditionally given to Naldini, are also by Balducci (inv. no. 2287; Barocchi, 1965, p. 265, fig. 109a). The question is whether the Vercelli picture might also have been painted by Balducci. To judge from the reproduction included in Barocci´s article, this could well be possible.

Turner, Nicholas, From Michelangelo to Annibale Carracci. A century of Italian drawings from the Prado, Chicago, Art Services International, 2008, p.180

Technical data

Inventory number
D001751
Author
Balducci, Giovanni
Title
Apollo and the Muses
Date
Early Último cuarto del siglo XVI - XVII century
Technique
Wash; Pencil; Pencil ground; Grey-brown ink
Support
Paper
Dimension
Height: 319 mm.; Width: 235 mm.
Provenance
Bequest of Pedro Fernández Durán y Bernaldo de Quirós, 1931

Bibliography +

Pérez Sánchez, Alfonso E., I Grandi Disegni Italiani Nelle Collezioni Di Madrid, Silvana Editoriale D'Arte, Milán, 1978, pp. nº 10.

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. 180, 210.

Turner, Nicholas, From Michelangelo to Annibale Carracci. A century of Italian drawings from the Prado, Art Services International, Chicago, 2008, pp. 180.

Other inventories +

Inv. Legado Pedro Fernández Durán, 1931. Núm. 451.

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
Madrid
23.11.2004 - 13.02.2005

Update date: 30-07-2020 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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