ca. 1515 – Verona – 1567
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Two Roman Figures (Christ and the Centurion)
pen and brush in brown ink with wash and extensive white heightening on blue paper; 234 x 182 mm (9 3/16 x 7 1/8 inches)
inscribed by Richardson on the mount Polidoro; further annotated on the verso This seems rather to be one Mannr of Biaggio Bolognese
Jonathan Richardson, sen. (1665–1745), London (his stamp Lugt 2184; his shelf marks in pen and ink on verso of mount Zl. 40./ L. 11./ 50./ BB. 34. LL. 57)
Sir Francis Ferrand Foljambe (1750–1814), Osberton Hall, Scofton near Worksop, Nottinghamshire;
thence by descent
The most prominent member of a Veronese family of painters, Domenico Brusasorci belongs to the same generation as Battista Angelo called del Moro (1514–1575). Both were the foremost representatives of Veronese art before Paolo Veronese.
Brusasorci’s drawn oeuvre is small and little known. Both he and Angelo del Moro show Roman influences in their work, primarily relayed by way of Giulio Romano. Typical for Domenico are the elongated proportions that show an awareness of Parmigianino. The chief technical characteristics of his drawings are to be found in the preference for blue paper and the extensive use of heightening. A sheet depicting the scene of Christ Healing the Paralytic in the Louvre (Dominique Cordellier and Hélène Sueur, Le Dessin à Vérone aux XVIe et XVIIe siècles, exhibition catalogue, Musée du Louvre, Paris, 1993, pp. 62–65, no. 11) as well as the standing figure of Saint Peter (ibid., p. 64, fig. 11b) both present convincing reference points—even in the facial details of the depicted figures—for the attribution of the present sheet to Domenico Brusasorci.
The two figures here might be identified as the centurion, kneeling and accompanied by one of his soldiers, who came to Jesus when he entered the town of Capernaum and asked him to heal his slave (Matthew 8:5–13 and Luke 7:1–10). The most celebrated representations of the biblical story were painted by Paolo Veronese, with probably the earliest version in the Prado dating from ca. 1571.