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Exhibitions and records of works of art

Prince Albert recognised the importance of photography to record and document notable exhibitions and works of art


Four female heads


Albumen print? | RCIN 2864227

A photograph of a drawing depicting four female heads now in the Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice (inv. no. 37 verso). This drawing is on the verso of a sheet of three female heads (see RCIN 854421 for a photograph of the recto). Annotated on the verso. 

Ferino Pagden (see Bibliographic References) noted that this drawing (both recto and verso) was interpreted by Ernst  Steinmann as being related to the fresco of 'The finding of Moses', painted by Pietro Perugino in the Sistine Chapel, Vatican and destroyed in 1540 by Michelangelo's 'Last Judgement'. Only the two heads depicted at the bottom of the verso are related to compositions still existing today ('The Circumcision' and 'Moses leaving for Egypt' executed by Perugino in the Sistine Chapel, Vatican). See also RCIN 854418.

This drawing is part of the so-called "Libretto di Raffaello" or "Libretto Veneziano", 53 sheets that used to be mounted in a volume. After complicated negotiations, the sketchbook was bought by the museum in the 1820s, after the death of Giuseppe Bossi, who was its previous owner. A number of scholars debated the author of the drawings (with many names proposed, such as Pinturicchio, Antonio da Viterbo, Eusebio del Giorgio, Girolamo Genga) and their date. In 1984, the Gallerie dell'Accademia catalogued the drawings as by an artist contemporary to Raphael, whose juvenile works he copied in this sketchbook (see Bibliographic References).

A copy of this photograph (RCIN 854424) can be found in the Prince Consort's Raphael Collection, portfolio 48 (970608)

  • Creator(s)

    After a work copying Pietro Perugino (Città della Pieve c. 1450-Fontignano 1523) (artist)

    After a work associated with Raphael (Urbino 1483-Rome 1520) (artist)

    Attributed to Florence : Alinari (photographer)

  • Acquired by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert

  • Subject(s)
    • Science, Medicine and Technology
      • Medical sciences
        • Anatomy
          • Heads
    • Places
      • Europe
        • Italy
          • Lazio [Italy]
            • Rome [Lazio]
              • Vatican City [Rome]
                • Vatican Palace [Vatican City]
                  • Sistine Chapel [Vatican Palace]
    Object type(s)
      • visual works
        • photographs
  • Bibliographic reference(s)

    Gallerie dell' Accademia di Venezia : catalogo dei disegni antichi. v.
    S. Ferino Pagden, Disegni Umbri (1984), pp. 65-66, no. 16 (for the drawing); pp. 13-31 (for the sketchbook)