Lot 11
  • 11

Lelio Orsi

25,000 - 35,000 USD
37,500 USD
bidding is closed


  • Lelio Orsi
  • An elaborate design for a decoration over a mantle piece
  • Pen and brown ink and wash heightened with white heightening, on paper washed beige.
    Bears in pen and ink some capital letters on the recto:...SNO and an attribution on the backing in black chalk:...di Novellara fe

Catalogue Note

A design for an interior decoration, this sheet can be closely related to another study of a similar shape and form, sold in these Rooms,1 which must relate to the same elaborate décor, most probably a fresco or a stucco decoration or a combination of both, possibly intended to surmount a monumental mantelpiece.  The pyramidal arrangement of the figures and the illusionistic architectural setting do not seem suitable for a wall decoration, and the lintel below the figures, particularly evident in the other, related drawing, indicates that the design stops immediately below the two seated female figures.  No such decorative work is documented, but it is possible that it was never executed or that it has perished.  

The herm in the middle is flanked by two others, while on each side there are two further seated female figures holding festoons.  All figures are united by an intricate and elegant architectural structure surmounted by a putto and a mask.  The artist has not bothered to complete the upper section with a corresponding putto on the left side, and that space is left blank.  Such elaborate and and monumental taste in the decoration of an interior reflects the influence of Giulio Romano, whose eccentricity and innovation in architectural forms demonstrates little sympathy for verisimilitude, and a successful exchange between pictorial and architectural illusionism.

Vittoria Romani, who has seen the drawing in the original, will publish it in her forthcoming addenda to the drawings of Lelio Orsi.

1. Sale, New York, Sotheby's, 27 January 2010, lot 15