Cloelia Crossing the Tiber, circle of Bernardino India


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Circle of Bernardino India

Verona 1528 – 1590

 Cloelia Crossing the Tiber (recto); detail studies of decorative objects (verso)

Pen and brown ink, brown wash over traces of black chalk. Large framing lines in brown ink.

Inscribed cavalier liberi with the black chalk on the verso.

202 x 145 mm – 7 15/16 x 5 11/16 in.


A mannerist painter working in Verona at the same time as Veronese and Farinati, Bernardino India led a successful career as a fresco painter in this town and in the province of Vicenza. He participated in the decoration of many palaces and Palladian villas, such as Palazzo Canossa, Villa Pojana, Villa Foscari, and Palazzoi Thiene in Vicenza. His decoration work in Sala del Maggior Consiglio in Verona was completed by his pupil Orlando Flacco.

This lovely drawing can be situated in the wake of this artist who had many pupils. The sophisticated hairstyle, faces with sunken eyes, and the way of shaping forms by wash recall India but the graphic style is less fluid and the overall feeling is less mannerist than in most of his works.

This drawing’s subject comes from Livy’s History of Rome (Book 2, chapter 13): Cloelia flees from the Etruscan camp of King Porsena and swims across the river Tiber with her friends.