Pen and brown ink, brown wash, squared in black chalk, the outline incised, with an arched top.
369 x 235 mm. (14 x 9 in)
Jacopo da Empoli was one of the finest draughtsman of the late Florentine Mannerists. He spent his entire career in and around Florence working primarily on ecclesiastical commissions. His most important works include an altarpiece of the Immaculate Conception, painted in 1591 for the church of San Remiglio, Florence, the Madonna del Soccorso of 1593 currently in the Pitti Palace, and the Annunciation for the Duomo in Pontedera, painted in 15991.
The present sheet is a preparatory drawing for the painting of the Annunciation in Pontedera (fig.1). The painting was most likely commissioned by the Cepperello family, as their name was inscribed on the prie dieu on which the Virgin kneels. A modello for the painting, executed the same year, is currently at the Museo Diocessano in San Miniato, Italy2.
This primo pensiero, is the first of four drawings for the Pontedera painting. There is a second compositional drawing, currently in the Gabinetto Nazionale della Stampe, Rome and two figure studies, one of the archangel, at the Graphische Sammlung der Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart, and one of the Virgin Mary at the Uffizi3.
Though there are several stages to the completed work, Empoli did not stray far from his first ideas for the composition. The only noticeable differences between the present drawing and the final painting are the slight shift back of the basket and the adding of fallen flowers to the foreground. These changes had already been included in the Rome drawing.
See A. Marabottini, Jacopo di Chimenti da Empoli, Rome, 1988.
Loc.cit., p. 195.