Giovanni Balducci, called Cosci
Florence circa 1560-after 1631 Naples
The Pentecost (recto) and A Design for an Armorial Cartouche (verso)

PROVENANCE: Hubert Marignane (born 1921) (his mark, not in Lugt); Private collection, U.K.


Indistinctly inscribed verso, red and black chalk, pen and brown ink, brown wash (recto), black chalk, pen and brown ink and blue wash, within an inscribed cartouche (verso), watermark kneeling saint within a shield

333 x 230 mm. (13 x 9 1/8in.)

Balducci was trained by Giovanni Battista Naldini, who was in turn influenced by Vasari and late Florentine Mannerism. Between 1575 and 1579 Balducci collaborated with Federico Zuccaro on the frescoes of the Last Judgement in the dome of Florence Cathedral. Balducci enrolled at the Accademia del Disegno in 1578. Between 1577 and 1580 he worked with Naldini on the decoration of the Altoviti Chapel in Trinit dei Monti, Rome. On his return to Florence, he assisted Alessandro Allori in the decoration of the ceilings in the corridor of the Uffizi gallery. Balducci was in Naples from 1596, working on the redecoration of the tribune of the cathedral. Fragments of the ceiling frescoes he painted in 1600 for San Giovanni dei Fiorentini, Naples, survive in the Museo di Capodimonte and in the rebuilt church. Other works in Naples include the frescoes in the cloister of Santa Maria del Carmine.

Our drawings has been connected to two pictures and various other drawings by Balducci. Patrick McGrady has connected the bottom left hand figure to a bozzetto in the U.S. [Palmer Museum of Art at The Pennsylvania State University, Gift of Mary Jane Harris in loving memory of Morton B. Harris] which is dated shortly before 1586, Christ in Glory with Apostles and Saints [Figure 1] 1. The final painting is in the church of Ges Pellegrino, Florence [Figure 2]. Our drawing is not a preparatory study for this painting, but they are clearly connected. The pose of the figures in our drawing and in the bozzetto and final painting are virtually identical, down to the way the left hand arm and hand is in this rather awkward mannerist grip. In addition to this painting by Balducci there is a drawing of The Madonna surrounded by Apostles which was on the art market and is also closely comparable to our drawing2. The Madonna is both drawings are in a similar pose, almost exactly the same position, but the book in our drawing is on the Virgins lap rather than on one knee as in the drawing at Christies. The latter drawing is also connected stylistically to several others at the Muse du Louvre3.

The arms of the verso [Figure 3] armorial cartouche have not been connected to a particular patron, though further research may reveal this identity. The characteristic use of the blue wash is well known in drawings by Balducci, such as Don Juan of Austria and Soldiers discussing plans for a Battle, which is in turn part of a group of 11 drawings by Balducci bought by Sir Robert Witt4.

1.Written communication, 19 March 2009.

2.Anonymous sale, Christies London, lot 19, 6 July 2004.

3.F. Viatte, Dessins Toscans, 1560-1640, Paris, 1988, numbers 32-34 and 37-41.

4.Sothebys New York, 28 January 1998, lot 75.