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A rocky landscape, a bird and a head with a wig


Albumen print | RCIN 854529

A photograph reproducing a pen and ink drawing depicting a rocky landscape, a bird and a head with a wig now in the Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice (inv. no. 73 verso). This drawing is on the verso of a sheet depicting a hilly town (see RCIN 854528 for a photograph of the recto). Annotated on the verso.

Ferino Pagden (see Bibliographic References) notes that the sketch of a head wearing a 18th century wig has been cause of dispute amongst scholars. Scholars who believe that the whole 'Libretto Veneziano' is a forgery, have used this depiction as a proof of their theory, while other scholars have distinguished between the landscape motifs (considered to be by a sixteenth century hand) and all the other sketches (catalogued as by a later hand).

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).

  • Acquired for the Prince Consort's Raphael Collection (c.1853-76)