35. Orazio Samacchini

Bologna 1532 – 1577 Bologna

A Young Man Playing the Viola da Gamba

This is a preparatory drawing for one of the angels accom­panying the Virgin and Child in the Clouds with St Petronius and Mary Magdalen, painted by Samacchini for a church in Bologna (now in Saltram House, Plymouth, Devon). It demonstrates the artist’s tremendous eye for detail; he probably hired a professional musician to pose for him in his workshop. The viola da gamba is depicted with great accuracy and the repeated studies for the right hand illustrate Samacchini’s desire to represent with the utmost realism the very particular position of the hand holding the bow.