The drawing was first published as Jacopo da Empoli by Antonio Vannugli in 1995, who recognized it as a preparatory study, with some differences, for a panel representing Glaucus and Scylla, by the Florentine master Jacopo da Empoli, now in the Museo Civico, Borgo Sansepolcro (fig. 1).1 The main differences from the painting lie in the position of the sea-god, Glaucus, whose fish-like body in the drawing is seen more horizontally. The present sheet represents a final stage in the development of the composition, and it is squared for transfer. The painting, traditionally attributed to Santi di Tito (1536-1603), was recognized as the work of Jacopo da Empoli by Marco Chiarini in 1985, an attribution that has since been universally accepted. Marabottini, in his monograph dedicated to the artist, proposed a dating for the painting around 1600, on stylistic grounds. However, as Vannugli pointed out, the discovery of the present drawing helps to clarify the dating of the painting, as the drawing is very close in style and technique to another sheet in the Uffizi, which is a first idea for Empoli’s altarpiece, Madonna and Saints, in S. Lucia de’ Magnoli, Florence, dated by Marabottini and other scholars to circa 1606-1607.2 Like the present sheet, the Uffizi drawing shows a free handling of the pen, and a vibrant and energetic graphic style, with an abundant use of white heightening, skilfully applied to convey light and emphasize volumes. Both drawings are highly pictorial, and still retain a strong mannerist style, with stylistic elements borrowed from Pontormo, whom Empoli both admired and imitated. It therefore seems likely that the Haverkamp-Begemann drawing also dates from around the middle of the first decade of the century.
Nothing is known of the commissioning or original destination of the Glaucus and Scylla, but it must have been executed for the decoration of a private palace, and as Vannugli observed, reflects the renewed interest in mythological themes at the beginning of the seventeenth century. The subject is taken from Ovid's Metamorphoses (XIII, 899-967; XIV, 1-71).
Jacopo da Empoli was trained by Maso da San Friano (1531-1571) and formed his style on the masters of previous generations, especially copying the works of Pontormo (1494-1556), Andrea del Sarto (1486-1530) and Fra Bartolommeo (1472-1517).
1. Gallerie Fiorentine inv. 1890 no. 5102, on loan to the Museo Civico, Borgo Sansepolcro
2. Florence, Uffizi, Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe, inv. no. 3411F; see A. Marabottini, L'Empoli, Rome 1988, p. 210, no. 50a, reproduced
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