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Palma PD.85-2006

Jacopo Palma, Il Giovane
Design for an embroidered hood of a cope: Worshipping the Lamb
Pen and brown ink, with brown wash, pricked for transfer, on two pieces of paper
Given by Miss Helen Vaux, 2006

Great nephew of Palma Vecchio and son of the little known painter Antonio Palma, Palma Giovane was largely self-taught. He became one of the most prominent Venetian artists of the generation following that of Titian, Veronese and Tintoretto.

This is a working drawing for the design of a cope that has been extensively blackened on the verso for transfer and that has been pricked throughout for the same purpose. This is a rare survival as most drawings with this kind of function were destroyed in the process of producing the embroidery. It is not known who commissioned this cope, nor does it seem to have survived.

Stylistically the drawing can be dated to the first or second decade of the seventeenth century on the analogy of two other drawings by Palma, one dated 1607 and the second 1614. The scene is taken directly from Revelation, V, 6-8: 'And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.'

Palma has reduced the number of figures and changed some details from the description in Revelation, but this is in order to fit his design into the shape of the cope. The basic features are there, as too is the book described in the first verse of Revelation, V: 'And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.'


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