Lot 5
  • 5

DANIELE RICCIARELLI, CALLED DANIELE DA VOLTERRA | Recto: A sheet of male nude studies for the apostles in a ResurrectionVerso: Seven male nude studies for the same

12,000 - 15,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • After Daniele da Volterra
  • Recto: A sheet of male nude studies for the apostles in a ResurrectionVerso: Seven male nude studies for the same
  • Black chalk (recto and verso);some squaring in black chalk on the figures on the lower part of the sheet (recto and verso)
  • 230 by 190 mm


Some soiling on the recto dew most probably to a mold on the left section, top section, and right margin. Once part of a bigger sheet, there is a tear or a defect in the paper running vertically from the top almost to the bottom on the verso.
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Catalogue Note

This fascinating double-sided sheet, with studies of male nudes in different poses, can be associated in style with a group of drawings by Daniele da Volterra in the British Museum, and another sheet in the Rijskmuseum, Amsterdam.1 These studies, all executed in black chalk, some with squaring, constitute a very homogeneous stylistic group.  They seem to relate to the period between 1555 and 1556, when Daniele da Volterra was working on commissions for the Florentine poet, writer and diplomat Giovanni della Casa (1503-1556), during the latter’s second sojourn in Rome.  Specifically, four of the drawings are connected to known paintings executed by Daniele for della Casa.  Vasari says that della Casa commissioned a total of four paintings from the artist, and although no precise dates are known for these commissions, they must date from between the patron’s return to Rome from Venice, in 1555, and his death in November 1556.  Such a dating is also plausible for the present sheet.2   The graphic style evident in the present drawing is reminiscent of that of Sodoma, who was, according, to Vasari, Daniele’s master, and whose influence is apparent in the latter’s early works.  Characteristic features of this group of drawings include parallel vigorous strokes to indicate the shadows, very typical hollow eyes, and a distinctive approach to pentimenti.  The last of these features is also evident in one of the British Museum sheets,3 which is, like the drawing in the Rijksmuseum, preparatory for the figures of Aeneas and his attendant in a composition of Mercury urging Aeneas to leave Dido, mentioned by Vasari but last recorded in the inventory of Fulvio Orsini (1529-1600), and now known only from a copy, discovered by Voss in a Swedish private collection.4  The lost painting is perhaps most noteworthy for the fact that Michelangelo assisted Daniele in making the design.  

The various nude studies on this fascinating double sided sheet were most probably executed from terracotta or wax models, rather than from life.  They do not seem to relate to any known painting by Daniele da Volterra, but the poses and orientation of the figures at the bottom of the recto looking upwards, together with the sleeping figures studied in various different poses both on the recto and on the verso, make it most likely that the sheet was made in preparation for a painting depicting The Resurrection of Christ. 

1. London, British Museum, inv. nos. 1956,1013.8 to 1956,1013.20 and 1976,0515.2; J.A. Gere and Philip Pouncey, Italian Drawings in the Department of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum, Artists working in Rome c. 1550 to c. 1640, London 1983, vol. I, pp. 65-68, nos. 70-92, reproduced vol. II, pls. 76-84; Amsterdam, Rijskmuseum, inv. no. RP-T-1959-268; see P. Barolsky, Daniele da Volterra, A Catalogue Raisonné, New York & London 1979, p. 99, reproduced fig. 74
2. The watermark on the sheet is E. Heawood 882, Rome 1555
3.  Inv. no. 1976,0515.2; Three studies of Aeneas and his attendant
4. See Barolsky, op. cit., pp. 98-99, no. 19