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Reclining and resting male Figures (recto and verso).

Alessandro Casolani

* 1552/53 in Mensano † 1607 in Siena

Red chalk, recto; pen and brown ink, red chalk, verso. 26.6 x 20.2 cm.

Studies for the sleeping Apostles in an Agony in the Garden (?)

Provenance: Private collection, Florence.

 Recto and verso of this sheet contain closely related studies of reclining and resting figures, displaying numerous pentimenti (1). No doubt made for a specific, as yet unidentified, composition, the studies are possibly for an Agony in the Garden, which traditionally shows the Apostles Peter, John, and James, sleeping while Christ prays nearby in the Garden of Gethsemane.

The recto contains studies for three figures in different reclining positions and, in the centre, an additional study of a right leg and lower body of a standing figure. The verso contains three studies in pen and ink and another in red chalk. The pen studies are all variations on the red chalk figure at left on the recto.

Casolani is known to have depicted the subject of the Agony in the Garden several times in his career. A painting of circa 1600 in the Pinacoteca at Voltaggio (2) in a fresco of circa 1603 in the church of S. Quirico at Siena (3), though the apostles in neither painting correspond to the figures in our drawing.


(1) We are grateful to Dr. Marco Ciampolini for his help in cataloguing this drawing. While confirming the attribution to Casolani, Dr. Ciamplini is less certain if the studies relate to an Agony in the Garden or another subject matter.

(2) A. Bagnoli, Il piacere del colorire. Percorso artistico di Alessandro Casolani (1552/53-1607), exhibition catalogue, Museo Archeologico, Casole d’Elsa, 2002, pp. 9, 32, fig. 34.

(3) M. Ciampolini, Pittori senesi del Seicento, Siena, 2010, vol. 1, pp. 119.





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