(San Gusmè 1556 - Siena 1622)
The Martyrdom of Saints Valerian, Tiburtius and Maximus
A study of a male nude in black chalk on the verso, now laid down.
The paper torn in several places and repaired.
Inscribed il Tintoretto on the former mount.
448 x 349 mm. (17 5/8 x 13 3/4 in.) [sheet]
The attribution to Sorri of the Marucelliana oil sketch is not, however, unanimously accepted, and it was published with an attribution to Passignano in 1978. In 1990, Giulia Brunetti further noted that the relationship between the Marucelliana oil sketch and the altarpiece in Siena is rather loose, and she therefore adopted a more cautious attitude, preferring to catalogue the former as by ‘Pietro Sorri or Domenico Passignano’.
The present sheet is, however, also closely comparable in both handling and technique to another oil sketch - a Madonna of the Girdle in the Uffizi - which is unanimously accepted as a work by Pietro Sorri, dating from his stay in Venice. The Uffizi bozzetto is a study for a lost painting of 1587-1588 by Sorri, which was once in the church of Sant’Agostino in Siena. Also similar in handling and technique is an oil sketch bozzetto of Christ Among the Doctors in the collection of the Monte de Paschi di Siena, which is a study for an altarpiece by Sorri in the Duomo in Pisa. Furthermore, the black chalk study of a male nude visible on the verso of the present sheet, which has been laid down, appears to be stylistically closer to the draughtsmanship of Sorri than that of Passignano. Consequently, and in view of the lack of evidence to substantiate an alternative attribution to Passignano, an attribution to Pietro Sorri has been retained for this oil sketch, which must likewise be datable to the 1580s.
This oil sketch also appears to be related to a later painting of The Martyrdom of Three Saints in the church of San Pietro in Modena. The present sheet shares many of the same compositional elements, as well as the shape, of the painting in Modena, which has been dated to the 1620s and was formerly attributed to the 17th century Modenese painter Ludovico Lana (1597-1640).
P. & D. Colnaghi, London, in 1994