This is closely related to Orsi's design for a frieze in the Uffizi, although with minor differences and in a different technique.1 The dating of the Uffizi drawing has varied widely across Lelio's career, but the influence of Perino which Vittoria Romani noted would indicate it must have been drawn after his first trip to Rome in 1546-7. She also confirms the suggestion made by Sylvie Béguin2 that details such as the elaborate cartouche show a debt to designs coming from Fontainebleau, which Lelio would have known through engravings (see also previous lot). In the present sheet the fantastic female animal rests her hand on what appears to be the frame of a less elaborate cartouche than the one in the Uffizi's drawing. Surely Lelio used these successful inventions for more than one project, introducing only minor differences.
1. Inv. no. 1640 E; Lelio Orsi, exhib. cat., Reggio Emilia, Teatro Valli, 1987-8, p. 53, no. 7, reproduced
2. S. Béguin, 'Emilia and Fontainebleau: Aspects of a Dialogue,' The Age of Correggio and the Carracci, exhib. cat., Washington, National Gallery of Art, et al., 1986-87, pp. 24-25
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