Study of a male figure playing a violin

Raphael (after), 1483 - 6 Apr 1520

Study of a male figure playing a violin

Raphael (after) 1483 - 6 Apr 1520


A reproduction produced by the Vasari Society of a drawing by Raphael. The drawing is on a greenish background, and is of a man standing, playing a violin. He appears to be nude, although there are light lines around the body that might indicate clothing. The man is gazing upwards. Text from the accompanying booklet produced by the Vasari Society: "2. RAPHAEL (b. 1483; d. 1520) STUDY OF A MALE FIGURE PLAYING A VIOLIN Collection of Henry Oppenheimer, Esq. From the Conestabile and Heseltine Collections. Silver point on greenish tinted paper. with broad curves of bluish tint. 29 x 19.9 cm. (11 3/8 x 7 3/4 in.). The subject has been called an Apollo, and this nude figure is certainly reminiscent of the Apollo in the little picture of Apollo and Marsyas, now generally attributed to Perugino, in the Louvre, and, in its more gracious aspects, of the Apollo in Raphael's Parnassus in the Vatican. But the pose of the figure and the rapt expression of the face render it more probable that it was a study for an Angel in a Coronation of the Virgin, or some similar subject. It was attributed to Perugino by Mezzanotte in 1836, again in the Conestabile Catalogue of 1872, and it is accepted as his by Dr. Fischel, but I hesitate to think that the case is proven by which drawings of the sensitive touch and gracious beauty of the present example are by Perugino, and not by Raphael. Pictures by Perugino in which Angels playing instruments occur in similar attitudes are the Ascension (Borgo S. Sepolcro), the Virgin in Glory (Florence, Academy), and the Assumption of the Virgin (Florence, Annunciata), while Dr. Fischel rightly draws attention to the resemblance it bears to the same master's treatment of St. Sebastian (e.g. at Panicale). But it seems to me equally probable that it was a study by Raphael for his Coronation of the Virgin of 1503 in the Vatican, though there is certainly more motion in the pose of his figures than in the drawing and the Perugino Angels. Other studies for this subject, admitted by Fischel as by Raphael, are in Oxford, Lille, and the British Museum (Fischel, Raphaels Zeichnungen, I. 18, 19, 21, and 22). The acceptance as Raphael's of some of the most attractive designs related to Perugino's picture may lead one in certain instances to regard the young pupil as the inspirer of the old master: and Dr. Fischel has made a strong case in combating that view and reclaiming for Perugino drawings touched with a freedom of hand that one had little suspected from the lighter and more mannered drawings usually ascribed to that master. But the earlier theory has at least the support of Vasari's tradition, and, in spite of his readiness to turn a pretty tale, a contemporary's improbably story is often nearer the truth than a later-day logic. A. M. H. [A. Mezzanotte, Della Vita de Pietro Vannucci. Perugia, 1836, p. 198. G. C. Conestabile, Catalogue descriptif des anciens tableaux et dessins appartenant à Monsieur le Conte Scipion Conestabile della Staffa. Perugia, 1872, p. 44, No. 13. Original Drawings by Old Masters of the Italian School, forming part of the Collection of J. P. H(eseltine), No. 35. O. Fischel, Duie Zeichnungen der Umbrer, Berlin, 1917, No. 95 (Perugino). A. Venturi, Per Raffaelo. Disegni inediti della Raccolta Oppenheimer di Londra e della Biblioteca Reale di Windsor. L'Arte, 1921 (XXIV, p. 49).]"

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Study of a male figure playing a violin

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Raphael (after)

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