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Bowdoin College BCMA Logo Museum of Art

    Type: inscription
    Location: bottom center
    Materials: red chalk
  • "matrem Szad [fiduca?]"
    Type: inscription
    Location: bottom left
    Materials: pen and brown ink
  • James Bowdoin III( Collector, Boston) - 1811.
  • Bowdoin College Museum of Art( Museum, Brunswick, Maine) 1811- . Bequest
  • Mannerism in Prints and Drawings
    • Bowdoin College. ( 2/28/1984 - 4/9/1984)
  • Old Master Drawings at Bowdoin College
    • Bowdoin College Museum of Art. ( 5/17/1985 - 7/7/1985)
    • Clark Art Institute. ( 9/14/1985 - 10/27/1985)
    • University of Kansas. ( 1/19/1986 - 3/2/1986)
    • Art Gallery of Ontario. ( 5/17/1986 - 6/29/1986)
  • A Selection of Italian Drawings from North American Collections
    • University of Saskatchewan, Regina. ( 1/16/1970 - 2/15/1970)
    • Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. ( 3/5/1970 - 4/3/1970)
  • Old Master Drawings: from College and University Collections
  • Drawings and Prints of the First Maniera, 1515-1535
  • Domenico Beccafumi e il Suo Tempo
    • Monte dei Paschi di Siena. ( 6/16/1990 - 9/16/1990)
  • Drawing on Basics
    • Bowdoin College Museum of Art. ( 10/14/1993 - 12/19/1993)
  • Old Master Drawings from the Bowdoin College Museum of Art
    • Timken Museum of Art. ( 5/13/2005 - 8/14/2005)
Type: catalogue
Author: H. Johnson
Document Title: Catalogue of the Bowdoin College Art Collections
Publ. Place: Brunswick, Maine
Reference: no. 117
Remarks: (as Unknown)
Publisher: Bowdoin College
Section Title: Pt. I, The Bowdoin Drawings
Date: 1885

Type: catalogue
Author: Bowdoin College Museum of Art
Document Title: Bowdoin Museum of Fine Arts, Walker Art Building
Edition: 4th
Publ. Place: Brunswick, Maine
Reference: no. 117
Remarks: (as Unknown)
Publisher: Bowdoin College
Section Title: Descriptive Catalogue of the . . .
Date: 1930

Author: Catherine Monbeig-Goguel
Document Title: Il manierismo fiorentino
Publ. Place: Milan
Location: pp. 81-82
Reference: pl. 7
Remarks: (as Beccafumi)
Publisher: Fratelli Fabbri Editore
Date: 1971

Type: review
Author: J. Bean
Document Title: Master Drawings, vol. 9, no. 1
Location: p. 69
Remarks: (as Beccafumi)
Section Title: Selection of Italian Drawings from North American Collections
Date: 1971

Type: exhibition catalogue
Author: Walter Vitzthum
Document Title: A Selection of Italian Drawings from North american Collections
Publ. Place: Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
Location: pp. 12-14
Reference: no. 2, repr.
Publisher: University of Saskatchewan, Regina
Date: 1971

Type: exhibition catalogue
Author: David P. Becker
Document Title: Old Master Drawings at Bowdoin College
Publ. Place: Brunswick, Maine
Location: pp. 72-73
Reference: no. 32 (illus.)
Publisher: Bowdoin College
Date: 1985

The iconographic program of the Sala del Concistoro ceiling in the Palazzo Pubblico consists of an elaborate series of allegories of civic justice and republican ideals, with references to contemporary events in Siena, often relating to images of death (Dubus, 111-31). This particular drawing depicts an episode from Roman history described by Valerius Maximus, of the Tribune Publius Mutius condemning nine colleagues to be burnt for their part in a plot to overthrow the government (fig. 1). This gruesome example of strict justice is portrayed at the left of the sketch; in the center, Publius Mutius gestures for support to the group of spectators on the right, while pointing to the furnace that awaits enemies of the state. The individual figures are considerably clearer in the final ceiling fresco, which was singled out by Vasari for its vivid depiction of the fire (Drawings and Prints of the First Maniera, 1515-1535, 18). The rapid chalk sketch suggests the movement and violence of the finished fresco (Torriti, 290)

There are several differences in composition between the Bowdoin sketch and the final painting: the addition of figures at the left edge, the deletion of the group to the left of the Tribune, the change in the attitude of the Tribune’s head, and the arrangement of spectators at the right.

The pen and ink sketches of a nude male on the verso are unsophisticated, but not entirely incompatible with Beccafumi’s rapid sketches (Liphart Ratshoff, 33-70 and 161-200), although most scholars today believe that they are likely by a later artist. The strong and rough chalk draftsmanship of the recto finds a parallel in the drawing for an etching of two male nudes at Chatsworth (fig. 2) (Old Master Drawings from Chatsworth, 17). A more highly finished red chalk drawing of another Roman hero is in the Morgan Library (fig. 3).

David Becker (edited by Sarah Cantor)


Drawings and Prints of the First Maniera, 1515–1535. Providence, RI: Department of Art, Brown University and the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, 1973.

Dubus, Pascale. Domenico Beccafumi. Translated by Michael Taylor. Paris: Vilo, 1999.

Liphart Ratshoff, Rinaldo. "Un Libro di schizzi di Domenico Beccafumi." Rivista d'arte 17 Jan. 1935: 33-70 and 161-200.

Old Master Drawings from Chatsworth: A Loan Exhibition from the Devonshire Collection Circulated by the Smithsonian Institution, 1962-1963. Washington, DC, 1962.

Torriti, Piero. Beccafumi. Milan: Electa, 1998.


Fig. 1: Domenico Beccafumi Publius Mutius Condemning His Colleagues to be Burned Alive, 1529-35, fresco, Sala del Concistoro, Palazzo Pubblico, Siena

Fig. 2: Domenico Beccafumi Study of Two Male Nudes.

Fig. 3: Domenico Beccafumi Gaius Mucius Scaevola Holding his Hand in the Fire, 1529-35, red chalk, The Morgan Library & Museum, New York, 1964.7

Further Reading:

Copeland Van Orden, Stuart. "The Ceiling frescoes in the Sala di Concistoro, Palazzo Pubblico, Siena by Domenico Beccafumi." Ph.D. Diss., Syracuse University, 1972.

Cordellier, Dominque. Domenico Beccafumi. Paris: Musée du Louvre, 2009.

Syson, Luke et. al. Renaissance Siena: Art for a City. London: National Gallery of Art, 2007.

Commentary credited to David P. Becker (or not otherwise captioned) appeared in his catalogue Old Master Drawings at Bowdoin College (Brunswick: Bowdoin College Museum of Art, 1985).