Pen and brown ink, red and black chalk
Sheet: 32.6 x 16.2 cm (12 13/16 x 6 3/8 in.)
Anne Elizabeth Wilson Memorial Fund 2020.70
The squares drawn on top of the design of this drawing indicate that it was transferred and resized to another medium such as fresco.
After working to fresco the papal apartments in Rome under Raphael in the 1510s, Giulio Romano became the court artist to Federico II Gonzaga, 1st Duke of Mantua (r. 1530–40), where his universal talents as an architect, designer, and painter transformed the duke’s unadorned Palazzo del Te into an elaborate setting for leisure and courtly activity. It was through drawings that Giulio planned everything from the most important narrative sequences of the palace, to the most seemingly insignificant ornamental details. This drawing—perhaps a design for a rinceaux, a frescoed decoration to the side or above a doorway—depicts Giulio’s typically inventive approach to classical ornament, with acanthus leaves that twirl together in a complex figure-eight pattern and a putto emerging from the floral center.
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