The attribution to Aurelio Luini of these two very interesting and rare large sheets of studies has been strengthened by the following information, kindly provided by Lucia Tantardini, who will include them in her forthcoming article on the artist. She believes they could be first ideas for Aurelio's frescoes in San Vincenzo alle Monache, Milan. The cycle was executed with the assistance of Aurelio's pupil, Pietro Gnocchi, around 1585 and was completed by 1587. Among the scenes illustrated were an Adoration of the Magi (now destroyed) and the Martyrdom of Saint Vincent (now at the Castello Sforzesco).1 It is especially difficult to reconstruct this cycle of frescoes, of which some fragments are still in situ, as much was lost during the attempt to detach them in the nineteenth century. Paul Joannides has recognized that the first drawing incorporates experimentation on the Adoration theme. The figures are studied in the nude (recto and verso): in the foreground of the recto there are several studies for one of the Magi kneeling and his limbs, on the left there are instead a number of sketches for a Madonna and Child. The verso includes other studies for an adoring figure. On the recto of the second drawing there are studies for soldiers which could relate to the Martyrdom of Saint Vincent for which Nancy Ward Neilson published a presentation drawing, now in the Metropolitan Museum, New York.2 On the verso of the second sheet is a study for an Adoration, quickly and loosely executed in pen and ink but with a lot of black chalk.
1. N. Ward Neilson, 'A drawing by Aurelio Luini,' Master Drawings, vol. xxv, no. 2 (1987), p. 151, reproduced fig. 1
2. ibid., reproduced pl. 6
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