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circle of Cesare Nebbia
c.1536-1614 or later
The Death of the Virgin
Pen and brown ink, with brown wash, heightened with white (now oxidised to grey), over traces of black chalk on paper
Given by Miss Helen Vaux, 2006

The style is close to Nebbia and it is possible that the drawing is by him, but not certain. He trained with Girolamo Muziano in Rome and produced most of his work there and in his native Orvieto.

Nebbia painted a Dormition of the Virgin on the vault of a chapel in Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome, but the fresco does not have a particularly close correspondence with this drawing. It is just possible that the dormition scene in the chapel, which appears in an irregularly shaped section of the vault, might originally have been intended for one of the low, wide lunettes there, and that this drawing is connected with that earlier conception. Nebbia also painted scenes of the Life of the Virgin in San Silvestro al Quirinale and a Virgin cycle in the Sforza chapel at Santa Maria Maggiore.

The idea of the Dormition, or 'falling asleep', of the Virgin at the end of her life was linked to the tradition in the Catholic and Orthodox church that her body and soul ascended to heaven, on the feast of the Assumption.


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