Pellegrino Tibaldi
Puria di Valsolda 15271596 Milan
Standing Male Dwarf dressed in a theatrical costume after the Antique

PROVENANCE: Anonymous sale, Sothebys London, 21 November 1974, lot 23.

Curtis O. Bear Collection.

Inscribed J Romano in pen and black ink (recto), inscribed on the verso of the mount .yt Tallast(?) in pen and ink

Pencil, pen and brown ink and brown wash, outlines incised with a stylus, pen and brown ink border

394 x 216mm. (15 x 8 in.)



Atlanta, High Museum of Art, et al., Eric M. Zafran, Master Drawings from Titian to Picasso: The Curtis O. Bear Collection, exhibition catalogue, 1985, no. 101 [as attributed to Giulio Romano].

Our drawing is based on a barbarian chief sculpture which is dated to the time of Septimius Severus. Winckelmann noted that the barbarians had been designedly represented with their hands and arms respectively cut short, a reference to the mutilations ordered by M. Licinius Lucullus after his campaign of 72 B.C. against the Sordisci, a tribe of upper Pannonia. But the statues are later in date, according to H. Stuart Jones, and were probably set up to commemorate the Parthian campaign of Septimius Severus. The statue was once in the Cesi collection and were acquired in 1720 by Clement XI. Heemskerck visited the Giardino collection in 1549, and it was placed at that time in a portico of the garden belonging to his palace on the Borgo1.

Our drawing has had numerous attributions in the past and has been seen by various scholars, and attributions have centered around artists working in Rome circa 1550, including Giulio Romano and Pirro Ligorio (circa 1513-1583) though only recently the attribution has been agreed by three scholars in the field. The attribution to Pellegrino Tibaldi was first made by Nicholas Turner on first hand inspection of the drawing, Professor Paul Joannides has confirmed this on first hand inspection of the drawing. Moreover independently David McTavish had reached the same conclusion that this drawing is by Pellegrino Tibaldi. The latter scholar, who has seen the drawing first hand, has compared the handling of our drawing to two drawings by Tibaldi, one in the Pierpont Morgan Library, the other in Berlin. The Morgan Library drawing is of Two Seated Barbarian Captives and is drawn in pen and brown ink and brown wash and white gouache over black chalk. This drawing measures 274 x 395 mm. This drawing is connected to a partial study for a mural, which no longer exists, but once decorated a courtyard off the Vicolo Savelli, near the Chiesa Nuova, in Rome. As David McTavish pointed out the handling of the strapped shoes in both drawings is almost identical. Indeed the use of wash and pen work is very close in both drawings. The drawing in Berlin, which represents Prudence, is also connected to the same project in Rome, and McTavish points out the handling of the stumps of the barbarians arms in our drawing is close to the handling of the black chalk stump in the drawing in Berlin2.

Tibaldi worked as a painter, draftsman and architect and was born in Puria di Valsolda in the duchy of Milan. He is thought to have joined his father, Tibaldo, who worked as an architect, in Bologna circa 1550. Little is known of Tibaldis early career, though it is now thought he went to Rome before 1547 to assist Perino del Vaga in the decoration of the Sala Regia, Rome. In Rome Tibaldi met the Bolognese prelate Giovanni Poggi, who commissioned him to decorate his villa on the Pincio (now destroyed). Later Poggi also commissioned frescoes in two rooms on the ground floor of the family palace in Bologna as well as the family chapel in San Giacomo Maggiore. His work for the cardinal ended in 1558 when Tibaldi was called away to decorate the Palazzo Ferretti in Ancona after which he worked in Milan, Ferrara and at the court of Philip II in Spain.

1.H. Stuart Jones, A Catalogue of the Ancient Sculpture preserved in the Municipal Collections of Rome, The Sculptures of the Palazzo Dei Conservatori, Oxford, 1926, pp15-8.

2.From Raphael to Carracci, the art of Papal Rome, D. Franklin, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, 2009, pp. 214-5, no. 53 (entry by Florian Hrb), written communication 9 August 2010.