Efim Schapiro (b. 1899).
Inscribed 'S REGINA' and dated '1604', and inscribed p (?).
Black lead, pen and brown ink and brown wash, heightened with white on brown prepared paper
306 x 174 mm. (12 x 6 in.)
Sold To The Muse Goya, Castres, France
This fine drawing is definitely the work of Francisco Pacheco and was published by Jonathan Brown giving the provenance as the collection of Efim Schapiro. It is a companion drawing to the Saint Anne in the Muse Goya in Castres (figure 1), which I had the chance to study and catalogue when it appeared on the Madrid art market. Both drawings have the same format and technique and are dated with the same calligraphy to the year 1604. They both present full-length figures and use the characteristic paper prepared with sepia and touches of white lead; they also have, towards the middle of the page, a graphic symbol like p or p together with the name of the saint, which tells us about the artist's way of working.
In his Arte de la Pintura Francisco Pacheco describes this method of working saying that the heads that I study from life for a history or a figure I paint in oil, on paper or primed canvas. I select the most beautiful and pleasing, whether they be boys, youths or men that fit my idea. For hands, arms and feet and nudes I draw from life on dyed paper with charcoal or black and red pencil, highlighting with white crayons, made from white chalk and dry white lead, because they are quick and mix together well. For the draperies, woollens or silks, I dress the live model with tunics or capes. I complete the whole on canvas or a large panel of the size I want, without using a grid square as I have acquired some facility in this.
Cen Bermdez also mentions this individual technique referring to studies of arms, legs, hands and other parts of the nude body drawn on dyed paper bringing out the highlights with chalk and dry white lead.
As for the iconography of this drawing it is truly unusual for a painting from Seville in the first third of the seventeenth century. It represents Regina of Alise, a virgin and martyr born in Alise, Burgundy. According to Reau, she suffered martyrdom in 252 on the orders of Olybrius, governor of Gaul, who had tried to marry her against her will. The saint is shown with a strong profile crowned with a laurel; she carries in one hand a martyr's palm and in the other a flower from which emerges a child. Her clothes, in the style of the Attic people, seem agitated by the movement that Pacheco aims to give to the figure. So it is an interesting iconographic forerunner of the virgin martyrs painted by Zurbarn to decorate the naves of churches in Seville and Spanish America, who parade before us as if in a procession. However, Zubarn did not try to give the draperies movement, but made them static and monumental. Although the effect produced by Pacheco is rather dry, conditioned by the rigidity typical of the reformed Mannerism in which his painting was forged, this drawing is especially interesting for the simulated effect of the wind that moves the saint's draperies.
The echo of the Flemish forms personified in the models of Martin de Vos and the tradition of the Escorial, in which we must also see the Italian influence of Luca Cambiaso, are notable elements of this drawing. It was painted on the same date as The Fall of Phaethon in the Fundacin Gmez Moreno where we can also see the technique of sepia wash and the date of 1604 written out in the same way as it is on the drawings studied here.
Pacheco was also particularly fond of representing male and female saints as is the case in the drawing under consideration here. The figural type, for example, relates this drawing directly to the retable of the church of San Onofre in Seville, a work dated to 1606, in which there is a Saint Mary Magdalene and a Saint Anne (figures 2 and 3) very like the Saint Regina, except that the idea of the branch in the Saint Anne becomes the flower in the Saint Regina. This drawing is probably preparatory for another retable, unfortunately not located, and to which I am sure the Saint Anne acquired by the Muse Goya at Castres also relates. I have also studied this drawing and find it very close in its execution to the St. Mark in the Courtauld Institute in London and to the Saints Cosmas and Damian in the Uffizi, drawings that likewise use white lead to give light and movement to particular parts of the figures.
The entry has been written by Dr Benito Navarrette Prieto8.
1.J. Brown, Drawings by Andalusian Masters Apotheca, Revista del departamento de Historia del Arte, University of Crdoba, 3, 1983, p.9 and 15, no.1, fig.1. Shapiro's mark is Lugt 2343a.
2.Madrid, La Habana Casa de Subastas, 5 June 2000, lot 105, pp.126-8.
3.J.A. Cen Bermdez, Diccionario de los ms ilustres profesores de las Bellas Artes en Espaa, Madrid, 1800, vol. IV, pp.12-3.
4.L. Reau, Iconografa del arte cristiano. Iconografa de los santos, ed. del Serbal, Barcelona, 1998, vol.5, p.122-3.
5.A.E. Prez Snchez, Dibujos del legado Gmez-Moreno, Granada, 1996, p.18.
6.E. Valdevieso and J.M. Serrera, Pintura Sevillana del primer tercio del siglo XVII, CSIC, Madrid, 1985, pp.56-7, plate 16.
7.D. Angula and A.E. Prez Snchez, A Corpus of Spanish Drawings, vol.3, Seville School 1600 to 1650, London, 1985, figs.99 and 111.
8.The entry was translated from Spanish by Dr Rose Walker.