Birth of Venus
51.5 cm x 40 cm (20 1/4 in. x 15 3/4 in.)
Attributed to Giulio Benso
(Pieve di Teco, Italy, 1592 – 1668, Pieve di Soligo, Italy)
Medium and Support:
Pen and brown ink with brush and brown wash over black chalk
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, The Suida-Manning Collection, 2017
This work is inspired by Cambiaso's large, autonomous drawings of the early 1560s. The hand is more controlled and refined than is typical for Benso. Distinctive are the loose brushstrokes in the reflections. It and several other drawings of identical characteristics have recently been attributed to one Bartolomeo Gagliardo, about whom little is known. Given the egregious quality of these drawings and their proximity to the virtuoso Benso, a cautious attribution to him remains preferable.