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Pietà
Candid, Pieter
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Candid, Pieter

Bruges, 1548 - Munich, 1628

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Pietà

1580 - 1586. White lead, Pencil, Pencil ground, Red chalk, Grey-brown ink on blue paper

This is without a doubt one of the finest drawings done in Italy during the sixteenth century from the Prado´s collection. Peter Candid, the artist responsible, was not however Italian by birth but Netherlandish. Nevertheless, the study was made early on in his Italian period, and for stylistic and formal reasons belongs in the context of Italian drawing. The drawing once belonged to P.-J. Mariette, the eminent eighteenth-century French connoisseur and collector, on whose blue backing it is still laid down, with the correct attribution inscribed in the decorated cartouche beneath the sheet. The Polish art historian Maria Mrozinska was the first to publish the drawing, in 1962, in the Bulletin du Musee National de Varsovie.

It is a preparatory study for a composition of the Pietà recorded in two other drawings, an earlier sketch in the Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin (inv. no. KdZ 12250; Munich, 1978-79, no. 1); and a final, more developed and finished study in the Louvre, which, like the Prado drawing, also formerly belonged to Mariette´s collection (inv. no. 19853; Lugt, 1968, no. 672). As is explained in an autograph note in the lower left of the Louvre drawing, the design was: dipinto da me Pietro Candido p[er]. uno altare / alla badia di Sto Giusto poco fuora di Volterra (painted by me, Peter Candid, for an altar in the abbey of S. Giusto, a little outside Volterra). Indeed, all three drawings show the development of the composition of the painter´s altarpiece, formerly in the Abbey of S. Giusto on Monte Nibbio in the environs of Volterra, and now in the city´s Pinacoteca Comunale (Voss, 1920, fig. 36, as Giovanni Paolo Rossetti). This altarpiece and another of the Birth of Christ, both by Candid and painted for the same church, were transferred to the Pinacoteca following the collapse of the building in 1895.

Candid had settled at Volterra in 1578, where he first painted the altarpiece of the Triumph of the Virgin for the Cathedral. Shortly thereafter followed the commissions for two altarpieces for the Abbey of S. Giusto: the Birth of Christ and then, around 1580, the Lamentation, which he seems to have completed by 1586. This latter is remarkably harmonious and classically balanced in the organization of its powerfully conceived figures and is strongly redolent of the work of such authoritative earlier sixteenth-century Florentine masters as Michelangelo (1475-1564), Fra Bartolommeo (1472-1517), and Andrea del Sarto (1486-1530). The body of Christ echoes unashamedly that in Michelangelo´s great sculpture of the Pietà in Florence Cathedral. On the other hand, the bright colors, iridescent lighting and crispness of modelling echo effects found in the paintings of the younger generation of so-called Mannerists, such as Rosso Fiorentino (1495-1540), whose great Deposition of 1521 Candid would have known well, since it was then in situ over the altar for which it was commissioned in the chapel of the Compagnia della Croce in the church of S. Francesco, Volterra.

In the Prado drawing, the sense of sculptural mass deriving from Michelangelo´s Florence Cathedral Pietà is far and away the most potent of these influence, the beautifully modulated passages of white heightening in Christ´s torso mimicking the effect of polished marble. The vigorous pentimenti leave a strong impression too, showing the extent of the artist´s toiling over the positioning of the figures as if carving them out of grey tone. Yet in spite of these labors, his grouping was to undergo further radical modification before the painted result was achieved (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, pp. 148-149).

Technical data

Inventory number
D002285
Author
Candid, Pieter
Title
Pietà
Date
1580 - 1586
Technique
White lead; Pencil; Pencil ground; Red chalk; Grey-brown ink
Support
Blue paper
Dimension
Height: 295 mm.; Width: 255 mm.; Alto segundo soporte: 452 mm.; Ancho segundo soporte: 372 mm.
Provenance
Bequest of Pedro Fernández Durán y Bernaldo de Quirós, 1931

Bibliography +

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo de dibujos, V, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2004, pp. 148, 282.

Turner, Nicholas, From Michelangelo to Annibale Carracci. A century of Italian drawings from the Prado, Art Services International, Chicago, 2008, pp. 282.

Other inventories +

Inv. Legado Pedro Fernández Durán, 1931. Núm. 636.

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: 02-05-2019 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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