The Birth of Pegasus, Italian school from the 16th century


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Italian school

End of 16th century

The Birth of Pegasus

Pen and brown ink, brown wash.

Inscribed Parmigianino lower right with the black chalk and on the verso with the pen and brown ink.

Sheet 120 x 224 – 4 11/16 x 8 13/16 in.

Drawing 100 x 200 mm – 3 15/16 x 7 7/8 in., oblong.


This small scene, in an oblong cartouche, is probably meant for a ceiling or wall decoration in a palazzo. The theme of Perseus and Pegasus was widely used in the wake of Giorgio Vasari, Francesco Salviati, and Perino del Vaga, famous decorators of Florentine, Roman and even Genoese palaces. This refined and elegant drawing represents Pegasus emerging from Medusa’s blood when Perseus slit her throat, taking great care in looking only at her reflection through his shield, to avoid being turned into stone (Ovid, Metamorphoses, IV, 780-786).


Condition report – Two paper strips horizontally pasted, up and down. Small foxing or flyspeck.