Master Works on Paper from Five Centuries

Master Works on Paper from Five Centuries

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 16. The Toilet of Venus.

Ferrarese School, circa 1530

The Toilet of Venus

Auction Closed

July 3, 10:51 AM GMT


10,000 - 15,000 GBP

Lot Details


Ferrarese School, circa 1530

The Toilet of Venus

Pen and brown ink and wash over black chalk, within pen and ink framing lines;

bears numbering in pen and brown ink, top left corner: No. 99o., and traces of lettering in the lower left corner 

224 by 192 mm

Bears unidentified collector's mark (partially cut) lower right;

from an Italian princely collection;

sale, New York, Sotheby's, 31 January 2018, lot 119;

private collection, France

The composition of the present drawing, representing a seated Venus drying her foot after a bath, in front of an armed Cupid, is closely related to a reduced and reversed engraving, attributed to Agostino Veneziano (c.1490-c.1540) (fig. 1), based on the prime version of the composition engraved in around 1516 by Marcantonio Raimondi (1480-1534).1  

Although this composition has in the past generally been associated with a lost panel in the decoration of a room known as 'La Stufetta', in the apartment of the Cardinal Bibbiena of the Palazzo Apostolico in the Vatican, this cannot be proved. Paul Joannides has kindly suggested instead that the composition could be after a lost painting by Raphael, or a member of his school, or might even record a lost preparatory study for such a painting, perhaps from a few years earlier than 1516. 

Raphael's influence is clearly perceivable, but the artist could be Ferrarese, not far from the works of Girolamo da Carpi (1501-1556), or those of the brothers Dosso (1489-1542) and Battista Dossi (1490-1548). The Italian watermark corresponds to Briquet, Les Filigranes, nr. 3415 (datable to circa 1530).

1. See G. Bernini Pezzini, S. Massari, S. Prosperi Valenti Rodinò, Raphael invenit, Rome 1985, p. 63, nos. 1 and 3, both reproduced p. 353