CESARE POLLINI (Perugia ? c. 1560 – c. 1630 Perugia)

Cesare Pollini

Cesare Pollini (Perugia ? c. 1560 – c. 1630 Perugia)

The Battle of the Amazons

Pen and brown ink, brown wash, traces of black and red chalk, in a drawn oval, watermark device, 170 x 224 mm (6.7 x 8.8 inch)

Extensively annotated with calligraphic trials of the pen on the verso, doubtless in the hand of the artist

~ Carlo Lucido (Lugt 3269)
~ Jacques and Galila Hollander, Paris, until 2014


Cesare Pollini, also known as Cesare dal Francia or Franchi, was active in Perugia and Rome at the end of the sixteenth century, and a small group of miniatures and drawings can be attributed to him. In the past there has been some confusion about the personality and name of the artist, which has been solved by F.F. Mancini.1 Although no paintings by Pollini are known today, early biographers described him as ‘Pittor Perugino, fu eccelente nel dipingere istorie in piccole figure’.2

A small group of drawings can be connected to Pollino’s quite personal hand. His studies are all drawn in pen and brown ink with brown wash over red chalk, and his figures have small, egg-shaped heads with delicate features and deep-set eyes that contrast with voluminous draperies that are executed with large areas of wash. Our animated and vivacious drawing can be compared to a drawing of the same subject by Pollini in the Israel Museum, Jerusalem (fig.).3

Pollini was also active as a miniaturist during his long career. Seven of his miniatures are preserved in the Galleria Nazionale of Perugia.4


1. F.F. Mancini, Miniatura a Perugia tra Cinquecento e Seicento, Perugia 1987, pp. 36-43. For the artist, see also Maria di Giampaolo, ‘Cesare Franchi di Le Pollino: variations sur le theme de la Sainte Famille’, in: Disegno, Actes du colloque Rennes, Rennes 1991, pp. 19-24 and Bruno Toscano, ‘Il Pollino tra Roma e Perugia’, Disegno e Disegni, Rimini 1998, pp. 156-67.
2. ‘A painter from Perugia, was excellent in painting history scenes with small figures’, Pellegrino Antonio Orlandi, Abecedario pittorico, Bologna 1704 (ed. Venice 1753), p. 122.
3. Brown ink, brown wash, over red chalk, 210 x 275 mm; inv. no. P57.12.0219
4. See Mancini, op. cit. A further miniature by Pollini, representing the Martyrdom of St Lawrence, was offered at Sotheby’s, London, 5 July 2000, lot 1, repr.