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pen and brown ink and wash, over traces of black chalk on paper
Museum Purchase with Funds contributed by George and Elaine Keyes and anonymously
Piero Buonaccorsi’s drawing lays out an ambitious decorative plan for an expansive and ornate ceiling. While details about individual fresco panels or figures are not articulated, the drawing captures in bold gesture the baroque architectural ornament of the ceiling and elaborate stucco work. The ceiling for which this design was prepared has not been identified and may not ever have been realized. Born in Florence in 1501, Piero Buonaccorsi trained from a young age with prominent Florentine painters, including Ridolfo Ghirlandio. According to Vasari, a teenage Buonaccorsi accompanied a little-known Florentine painter named Vaga to Rome, and hence the artist is often referred to as Perino del Vaga. There Buonaccorsi was recommended to the workshop of Raphael by Guilio Romano and Giovanni Francesco Penni, prominent members of the master’s studio, and went on to become a highly sought-after fresco painter. At one point he served as the principal Papal decorator. An early Mannerist whose work shows the influence of Parmigianino and Fiorintino, Buonaccorsi employed a style that was more ornamental and rococo than that of his early teachers. His influence is, in turn, evident in the work of many of his successors whose work represents the high Mannerist style.
Per Sotheby's "Old Master Drawings" (January 29, 2020) on-line catalogue: This drawing for a very complex ceiling shows strong stylistic similarities with other studies by Perino, particularly in the handling of wash and in the figure types. It can be compared in particular with a study for ceilings in the Palazzo Doria1 and with another drawing in the Musée Condé, Chantilly.
1. See Berlin, Staatliche Museen Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Kunstbibliotek, inv. Hdz 2131, exhibited, Mantua, Palazzo Te, Perino del Vaga, 2001, cat. no. 94 verso