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The Assumption of the Virgin
Lilio, Andrea
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Lilio, Andrea

Ancona, Le Marche, 1570 - Ascoli Piceno, Le Marche, 1635

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The Assumption of the Virgin

Before 1604. Grey wash, Pencil on grey paper. Not on display

This impressive drawing is a finished preparatory study, squared for transfer, for Lilio´s altarpiece of the Assumption of the Virgin in the church of S. Giovanni Battista at Numana, a small town on the coast, south of Ancona, which is signed and dated 1604. This picture is one of the more important works to have survived from the artist´s later period, following his return to the Marches from Rome where he had spent much of his early career.

The handling is characteristic of Lilio´s drawn modelli, where the modulations of light and dark are carefully prepared in delicate shading, which is either stumped in black chalk or brushed in with delicate tints of mono-chrome wash and where the whole design is squared with a small grid for the transfer of the composition to the surface to be painted. In some aspects, this particular method of resolving the chiaroscuro of a given invention ahead of the execution of the painting recalls the practice of Federico Barocci, who painstakingly prepared the lights and darks of a given composition, independent of its coloring.

Lilio´s composition certainly echoes that of Barocci´s magnificent, unfinished late bozzetto of the Assumption of the Virgin in the Galleria Nazionale delle Marche, Urbino, which has been connected with Barocci´s destroyed altarpiece in the choir of Urbino Cathedral. Lilio would certainly have had the possibility to know the Urbino bozzetto, since during his lifetime it was still in the possession of the artist´s heirs. Not only is there a notable similarity in the disposition of the figures of the Apostles around the tomb, but also the flying angels to either side of the seated Virgin borne aloft on clouds are taken directly from Barocci´s prototype. The fragment of an earlier, more rapidly drawn preparatory study, showing only the lower, left-hand section of the composition, is in the British Museum, London (inv. no. 1975-9-20-9).

Turner, Nicholas, From Michelangelo to Annibale Carracci. A century of Italian drawings from the Prado, Chicago, Art Services International, 2008, p.184

Technical data

Inventory number
Lilio, Andrea
The Assumption of the Virgin
Before 1604
Grey wash; Pencil
Grey paper
Height: 401 mm; Width: 210 mm
Bequest of Pedro Fernández Durán y Bernaldo de Quirós, 1931

Bibliography +

Gere, J.A., Italian Drawings in the Department of Prints and Drawings in..., British Museum, Londres, 1983, pp. 122.

Pulini, Massimo, Andrea Lilio, Federico Motta, Milán, 2003, pp. 204-205.

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. 184, 310.

Turner, Nicholas, From Michelangelo to Annibale Carracci. A century of Italian drawings from the Prado, Art Services International, Chicago, 2008, pp. 184.

Di Giampaolo, Mario, Mario Di Giampaolo : scritti sul disegno italiano 1971-2008..., Aida, 2010, pp. 303.

Other inventories +

Inv. Legado Pedro Fernández Durán, 1931. Núm. 1575.

Inscriptions +

PFD [Anagrama de Pedro Fernández Durán]
Blue ink stamp. Passepartout

Printmaking. Passepartout

A. lilli
Inscribed in pen and brown ink. Front, lower left area

Scrap of paper. Passepartout

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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