Ippolito ANDREASI (Mantua 1548 - Mantua 1608)

Two Putti Flanking the Gonzaga Coat of Arms Sold

Pen and brown ink and brown wash, heightened with white, over traces of an underdrawing in black chalk.
Inscribed FIDES at the upper centre, below the crown.
Squared for transfer in black chalk.
133 x 168 mm. (5 1/4 x 6 5/8 in.)


Formerly attributed to Bernardino Campi, the correct attribution of this drawing to Ippolito Andreasi was first suggested by Mario di Giampaolo. The drawing may be compared stylistically with a number of other studies by Andreasi, such as a drawing of Charity in the Biblioteca Reale in Turin.

The coat of arms depicted in this drawing is that of the Gonzaga duchy of Mantua. Visible at the top of the shield is a mountain, representative of Mount Olympus, with a spiral road leading up to the summit, on which an altar or temple may be seen.

This particular impresa was first used by Francesco II, 4th Marchese of Mantua (1466-1519) and adopted by his successor Federico II Gonzaga, 5th Marquis and 1st Duke of Mantua (1500-1540). The word FIDES (‘faith’) had been added to the impresa by the early 1520’s, and the Mount Olympus impresa as a whole was incorporated into the Gonzaga coat of arms in 1530, when the Marquisate of Mantua was raised to a Duchy by the Emperor Charles V. The device was used extensively by Federico, and appears on several Mantuan coins and medals, as well as throughout the decoration of the Palazzo Te. It is found, for example, in the frescoes on the east wall of the Camera delle Imprese in the Palazzo Te, where the motif is similarly depicted on a shield flanked by putti, as well as in stucco on the vaults of the Loggie delle Muse, the Camera dei Venti and the Camera deli Imperatori.

Lorna Lowe, London, in 1974
Timothy Clifford, Manchester and Edinburgh (his collector’s mark on the mount)
His sale, London, Sotheby’s, 3 July 1989, lot 24.

Mario di Giampaolo, ‘Mostre: Italienische Zeichnungen des 16. Jahrhundert aus Eigenem Besitz’ [exhibition review], Antichità Viva, 1977, No.4, p.45, fig.3, p.47, note 6; reprinted in Cristiana Garofalo, ed., Mario Di Giampaolo: Scritti sul disegno italiano 1971-2008, Florence, 2010, p.373, fig.3, also illustrated in colour p.448, pl.16; Richard Harprath, ‘Ippolito Andreasi as a Draughtsman’, Master Drawings, Spring 1984, p.21, no.95 (not illustrated).


Two Putti Flanking the Gonzaga Coat of Arms


  • Name: *
  • E-mail: *
  • Phone:
  • Comment: