82. Workshop of Giulio Romano (?)

Moses at the Burning Bush

Giulio Romano was in great demand at the Gonzaga court in Mantua for projects as varied as objets d’art, paintings, grand decorative schemes and architecture. He followed the working practices and methods of the workshop of Raphael (1483-1520), of whom he was the favourite pupil. Like his master, he entrusted most of the execution of his work to his assistants, reserving for himself the credit of their invenzioni (invention, design) conveyed through his drawings. In order to disseminate or to reproduce these models, he used a technique illustrated in these two drawings [see also cat. 81] and described by the art theorist Armenini in 1587. Having sketched out his composition in pen and ink, he blackened the back of the paper with charcoal. Using this as a tracing paper, he went over the outlines with a stylus to transfer them to a second sheet in order to work up the tonal values in ink wash. The whereabouts of the second drawing are not known, but the Fondation Custodia owns a copy of it, probably executed in the master’s workshop – presented here.