FERRUCCI, Francesco di Simone
(b. 1437, Fiesole d. 1493, Firenze)

Sketches of Figures (recto)

1487-88
Pen and brown ink, over leadpoint or black chalk, on rose-washed paper, 274 x 198 mm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The recto of this sheet shows sketches of figures of the Virgin kneeling, St Peter standing, seated allegorical figures of Faith and Charity, and child standing on a corbel. The verso contains sketches of figures of St Sebastian standing and the Virgin and Child with angels.

This boldly drawn double-sided sheet is part of a well-known dismembered Florentine sketchbook (now dispersed in a variety of collections) that apparently records sculptural models, most of which can be associated with the style of Andrea del Verrocchio's workshop. It also includes, however, motifs inspired by the work of such other Florentine sculptors as Antonio del Pollaiuolo, Benedetto da Maiano, Desiderio da Settignano, Luca della Robbia, and Bernardo Rossellino. This and nineteen other pages of the sketchbook are currently known, all of a similar size and drawing technique on rose-washed paper, and at least nine of these bear the same watermark (a Gothic M).

To judge from the very eclectic choices of sculptural motifs and styles, the sketchbook may have served as a visual record or sourcebook for the use of a modestly talented sculptor, or even a sculptor's apprentice.

About 1850, when the sketchbook seems to have gotten noticed by scholars, it was ascribed to Andrea del Verrocchio. Later it was attributed to Francesco di Simone which is now usually accepted.