Attributed to Francisco Rizi
The Assumption of the Virgin
Drawings from the Collection of Carlos Alberto Cruz
Madrid 1614 - 1685 San Lorenzo del Escorial
The Assumption of the Virgin
Pen and brown ink and shades of blue wash, heightened with white, on paper washed light blue, within black ink framing lines; arched top;
indistinctly signed in pen and brown ink lower left
509 by 303 mm
Hinged at the top. Traces of old folds in the middle and horizontally in three sections. Reinforced with japan paper along some of the lines from the back. Some old creases and some light brown staining especially at the top. The media strong and vivid.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
Francesco Rizi seems to have been accustomed to make large-scale preparatory drawings with a high degree of finish like the present sheet. These must have been used as presentation drawings, though no surviving painting with this composition is known. The attribution to Rizi was suggested by Dr. Zahira Véliz, former curator of the Apelles Collection, who has pointed out that this must be a mature work by the artist, as the painterly handling of the white heightening corresponds extremely well with Rizi’s mature paintings, particularly his small scale, sketch-like works.
The combining of the iconography of the Assumption with the Coronation of the Virgin is unusual, and could be a clue to the patronage for the project. The Virgin in the present sheet resonates strongly with the similar disposition of this key figure in several paintings of the subject by Rizi. It is worth remembering that Rizi worked at various times for the Cathedral of Toledo, specifically on the Camarín de la Virgen del Sagrario, the shrine to the Virgin which is taken in procession every feast of the Assumption (15 August).
The present sheet can be stylistically compared with a drawing by Rizi: Martyrdom and glorification of St. Leocadia, published by Jonathan Brown in 1983, when in the collection of E. Shapiro.1 The Martyrdom of St. Leocadia is a preparatory modello for the painting by Rizi executed for the Capuchins, Toledo, now in St. Jerónimo, Madrid.2
The striking pictorial qualities of this very finished drawing are enhanced by its technique, characterized by abundant use of wash over a light blue washed paper.
Francisco Rizi trained with Vincente Carducho, and his work reflects the artistic changes that took place in Madrid from the mid-1640s. In his account of the life of Claudio Coello, first published in 1724, the biographer and painter Antonio Palomino writes that Coello’s master, Francisco Rizi, was in the habit of making a sketch or quick notation of whatever work he had in hand on any little piece of paper, which he would typically tear up and throw away. Coello would then collect and carefully reassemble the pieces to study them.3
1. J. Brown, 'Selected Drawings of Spanish Baroque Masters', Master Drawings, vol. XXI, no. 4 (1983), pp. 404-405, no. 11, reproduced pl. 31
2. Ibid., p. 404, fig. 1
3. A. Palomino, Lives of the Eminent Spanish Painters and Sculptors, trans. N. Ayala Mallory, Cambridge 1987, pp. 308-9