Edited by Luca Giunta Baroni

The drawing, well known to critics, comes from a group recognisable by the presence, in the upper left corner, of an ancient numbering in pen.

The sheets, originally mounted in pairs in an album, formed a coherent whole in technique and typology. Perhaps it was assembled by Tanzio himself or by an early collector for study or conservation reasons (fig. 1)1.

Antonio d’Enrico, Drapery Study. Originally mounted alongside the study of a shepherd.
Fig. 1. Antonio d’Enrico, Drapery Study. Originally mounted alongside the study of a shepherd.

In 1966 Giovanni Testori suggested to identify the latter with the Varese painter and drawing collector Bartolomeo Carlo Borsetti (1689-1759), who may have received it directly from Tanzio’s heirs.

Other sheets of the same series were part of the prestigious collections of the Milanese historians, merchants and collectors Giuseppe Vallardi (1784-1863), Giovanni Morelli (1816-1891) and Francesco Dubini (1848-1932), who sold some of them to Ulrico Hoepli2. Most of the group was dispersed into the Swiss art market in the mid-20th century, entering numerous international collections3.

Our sheet, originally part of a larger support and probably made from life, investigates the drapery and the position of the hands of a figure identifiable with that of a shepherd or a holy bishop.

Filippo Maria Ferro and Edoardo Testori hypothesised a late dating, establishing a connection with the counterpart figure of the left shepherd in the Announcement to the shepherds frescoed by Tanzio in 1632 on the vault of the church of Santa Maria della Pace in Milan4.

1 The drawing here discussed was originally mounted together with a Drapery study sold in New York, Sotheby’s, 30.01.2019, lot 4 (see fig. 1).

2 Ferro 2009, pp. 141-152; Bareggi 2013, pp. 32-41.

3 Matile 2013, p. 32.

4 A group of sketches for this fresco, similar to the one discussed here for technique and style, is illustrated and discussed in Milano 2000, pp. 184-88, nos 54-61.

F. Ferro, Testori a Novara, Milan 2009, pp. 145, 148, p. 149, note 3, reproduced p. 146.

S. Bareggi and F. Ferro, 'Antologia di Artisti, Alcuni disegni inediti di Tanzio da Varallo', Paragone, no. 112 (765), November 2013, pp. 32-41, reproduced pl. 23.

Michael Matile, Zwiegespräch mit Zeichnungen: Werke des 15. bis 18. Jahrhunderts aus der Sammlung Robert Landolt, Imhof, Petersberg 2013.

Zurich, Gotthard Schuh (1897-1969); Zurich, Schuler Auktionen 12.12.2008, lot 4444 (lot made of two drawings); New York, Sotheby’s, 30.01.2019, lot 2.

Related Art