Bernardino Poccetti (Florence 1548 – 1612 Florence)
Two Putti Holding a Cartouche
Pen and brown ink, brown wash, over traces of black chalk, 81 x 119 mm (3.2 x 4.7 inch)
Inscribed on the lower edge of a 17th- or 18th-century sheet of paper on which the drawing is laid down ‘Di Bernardino Poccetti pittr fiora.’ (brown ink)
Private collection ‘Monsieur J.J.S.’, Paris, until 2013; his collector’s stamp in blue ink on the modern mount
Bernardino Poccetti, also known as Barbatelli, was trained in Florence by Michele Tosini, a pupil of Ridolfo Ghirlandaio, and at age 22 was admitted to the Compagnia di San Luca and later the Accademia del Disegno.1 His skill as a fresco painter of façades of houses and palaces earned him the sobriquets ‘Bernardino delle facciate’, ‘… delle Muse’ and ‘delle grottesche’. Surviving examples include the façade of the Palazzo di Bianca Capello, Florence.
Poccetti’s six lunettes of the Life of St Dominic of c.1582-84 in the S. Maria Novella, Florence, owe much to Andrea del Sarto for the clear compositions and individual figures and to the new emphasis on naturalism of Santi di Tito for the narravite simplicity. His patrons, including the Medici and the Strozzi families, prized his ability to create realistic, legible compositions with stylized figures.
Over 800 drawings by Poccetti are preserved in the Uffizi, Florence, and other groups are in the British Museum, London, and the Albertina, Vienna. His drawings were avidly collected by Filippo Baldinucci for Cardinal Leopoldo de’Medici. The inscription dating from the 17th or 18th century on our drawing also testifies to the popularity of Poccetti's drawings with early collectors. Many of Poccetti’s frescoes were painted in lunette form, occasioned by the prevalence of arched architecture in Florence.
Our drawing is likely to have been part of Poccetti’s studio holdings, to show prospective clients how they could display their individual heraldic arms, probably as part of a larger decorative scheme in fresco. The finished work could have resembled the fresco with the arms of the Neri family, painted in their family chapel in the church of Santi Nereo e Achillo in Florence, executed between 1598 and 1600 (see fig.). A more elaborately finished design for a lunette with a rectangular window flanked by angels and cornucopia is in the Louvre (see last fig.).2
(Inventory No. 377)
SOLD TO A PRIVATE COLLECTOR, ITALY
1. For the artist as a draftsman, see: Paul C. Hamilton, Disegni di Bernardino Poccetti, Florence 1980.
2. Pen and brown ink, brown and blue wash, 186 x 256 mm; Département des Arts graphiques, inv. no. 12032 recto.Request more information »