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A study of a galley


Albumen print | RCIN 854535

A photograph of a drawing depicting a study of a galley now in the Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice (inv. no. 40 verso). This drawing is on the verso of a sheet depicting a study of the top of the mast and sail of a galley (see RCIN 854534 for a photograph of the recto). Annotated on the verso.

Ferino Pagden (see Bibliographic References) notes that this study continues onto another sheet of the 'Libretto Veneziano' (a photograph of which can be found at RCIN 854524). This kind of vessel was common in paintings of around 1500 and an almost exact match with the one depicted in this drawing has been found in two paintings attributed to the Florentine school of the very beginning of the 16th century, now in Vassar College, Poughkeepsie (they are reproduced in Ferino Pagden). The different direction of the sails between these paintings and the drawing has been explained assuming the existence of a shared model drawing, featuring studies of boats that could be used by the artists in different ways. A repertoire of vessel motifs was certainly available to artists of the time, and – looking at the compositional drawing executed by Raphael now in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence (inv. no.520E) for the fresco 'The journey of Enea Silvio Piccolomini to Basle' painted by Pinturicchio and his workshop (1502-07/08) in the Piccolomini Library in Siena Cathedral – the young Raphael appears to have had his own repertoire. See RCIN 853749 for a photograph of the Uffizi drawing.

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)