Perugino (Pietro di Cristoforo Vannucci) (Italian, Umbrian, ca. 1445/50–1523?)
Brush and brown wash, highlighted with white gouache, on gray-green prepared paper
8 x 11 1/16 in. (20.4 x 28 cm)
Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 1993 (1993.327)
The teacher of Raphael (whom he outlived) and one of the painters in greatest demand by patrons throughout Italy in the late fifteenth century, Perugino is best known for his graceful figural compositions set within monumental architectural backdrops and landscapes that create the exquisitely serene, idyllic mood that his patrons no doubt admired. Discovered at auction in 1992, this view of wooded hills descending toward a river is a rare example of a landscape drawing by the artist, and is done in a delicate chiaroscuro technique with brown ink and white on a dark ground, full of atmospheric effects. A similar motif appears in the background of Perugino's Vision of Saint Bernard altarpiece (Alte Pinakothek, Munich) painted about 1489 for the Nasi Chapel in the Cistercian church of Santa Maria Maddalena di Cestello, known now as Santa Maria Maddalena dei Pazzi, near Florence. The verso offers a quick outline sketch in pen and ink of the same landscape, done "on the spot." Thus this sheet was almost certainly a page from a sketchbook.
The annotation CL in pen and brown ink at the lower right corner may refer to Claude Lorrain.