Study of a Scene of Martyrdom or Punishment

Accession Number

Study of a Scene of Martyrdom or Punishment

Polidoro da Caravaggio

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
brown ink on paper

11 in. x 15 13/16 in. ( 27.94 cm x 40.16 cm )

Credit Line
Joseph F. McCrindle Collection

Subject matter
Although the exact subject of this scene remains unidentified, it clearly represents a martyrdom of a saint or the punishment of a criminal. The execution of the man who is bound on the left appears to be ordered by the seated figure on the right, who points toward him. The artist, Vincenzo Tamagni, worked in Raphael's workshop in Rome and received his own commissions in and around his hometown of San Gimignano. The drawing has not been linked to any of Tamagni's extant paintings or frescos, but the representation of the figures in the nude and the lack of details indicate that the drawing was a rough preparatory study for a larger finished work.

Physical Description
This drawing represents seven nude men in a landscape with buildings indicated on a hill in the distance. One of the figures, represented full-length and in profile, is bound to a tree or stake on the left. All of the other men appear in half-length in the right part of the drawing. A bearded man sits and gestures in the direction of the bound man. Five other men appear around the seated figure, one of whom carries two long objects over his shoulder toward the man on the left.

Primary Object Classification

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drawing (image-making)
executions (events)
nudes (representations)

5 Related Resources

Death and Dying
(Part of 8 Learning Collections)
Lives of Christian Saints
(Part of 6 Learning Collections)
Prison and Punishment
(Part of 11 Learning Collections)
Symbolism in Italian Renaissance Art 
(Part of: Histart 250: Italian Renaissance Art )

& Author Notes

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