Design for an Altar

Object Details

Title:

Design for an Altar

Artist/Maker(s):

Baldassare Peruzzi (Italian, 1481 - 1536)

Culture:

Italian

Date:

about 1527

Medium:

Black chalk, pen and brown ink and brown wash, incised with a stylus

Dimensions:

45.4 x 37.8 cm (17 7/8 x 14 7/8 in.)

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Numerous details indicate that Baldassare Peruzzi made this design for an altar as a presentation drawing, to be shown to a patron for approval. He took great care when drawing the altar's intricate decoration, meticulously outlining the scrolling rinceaux pattern interlaced with animals along the frieze and base of the columns and carefully shading the delicate fluting, dentils, and egg-and-dart motifs. He also showed the effects of shadows on the top and right parts of the altar frame and noted the size of various components on the design so that this large altar could be built with precision.

Although this drawing does not relate to any known structure, it probably represents an unexecuted design for a side altar for the cathedral of Siena. Three of the saints in the niches appear facing to the right, toward the main altar, indicating that this altar would have stood in the left aisle.

Exhibitions
16th Century Ornamental Drawings (June 1 to August 14, 1994)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), June 1 to August 14, 1994
Raphael and his Influence Across the Centuries (October 31, 2000 to January 7, 2001)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), October 31, 2000 to January 7, 2001
The Geometry of Seeing: Perspective and the Dawn of Virtual Space (April 16 to July 7, 2002)
  • The Getty Research Institute, (Los Angeles), April 16 to July 7, 2002
Made for Manufacture: Drawings for Sculpture and the Decorative Arts (February 6 to May 20, 2007)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), February 6 to May 20, 2007
Made for Manufacture: Drawings for Sculpture and the Decorative Arts (March 31 to July 5, 2009)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), March 31 to July 5, 2009