A number of studies are known that relate to the same fresco, but the composition seen here is closest to that of a drawing now in Berlin, executed in the same technique.3 That sheet focuses also on the upper section of the fresco, with the high priest coming out of the temple to greet the Virgin, although in the present composition there are indications of figures on the staircase below that are missing in the Berlin drawing. The present sheet could well precede the study in Berlin, where the temple entrance is already close to the final composition, without the portico with columns seen here. A study now in Ottawa, just for the group of women climbing the steps leading to the temple, shows the same vigorous use of the pen as this sheet, while the volumes are also achieved with similarly broad and abundant application of brown wash.4
Several other studies for this fresco are known, which witness the care and thought given by the artist to resolving the composition of this important fresco.5 It is also possible that the red chalk study on the verso relates to the figure of the Madonna introducing with her right hand the Virgin to the High priest.
1. These merchant associations are still to this day responsible for the upkeep of the church
2. Vite de' Pittori, scultori et architetti, published in Rome in 1642, the original manuscript is in the Vatican Library (MS. Chigi G. VIII. 222)
3. Berlin, Staatlische Museen zu Berlin, inv. no. KdZ 16434
4. Ottawa, National Gallery of Canada, inv. 6895 O.337; M. Smith O'Neil, 'Cavaliere Giovanni Baglione: "Il Modo Eccellente di Disegnare", Master Drawings, vol. XXXVI, no. 4 (1998), p. 370, fig. 18
5. Smith O'Neil, op. cit., pp. 369-372, reproduced figs. 18-22, and under note 37 (for a further sheet identified by Simonetta Prosperi Valenti Rodinò, in Palermo, Palazzo Abatellis)
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