Cataloging the Fund of Drawings preserved in Civiche Raccolte d’Arte di Milano by Caravaggio’s Master Simone Peterzano

Project location: ITALY, Milan, Rome, Florence
Project start date: April 2013 - Project end date: December 2013
Project number: 2012-119
Beneficiary: Università degli Studi di Roma Tre Dipartmento di Studi Umanistici


The recent appearance of an e-book which claimed that most of the sheets in the "Peterzano Fund" were made by Caravaggio, created quite a stir in the artistic and scientific world. Although the theories behind this work (Giovane Caravaggio. Le cento opere ritrovate, edited by Maurizio Bernardelli Curuz and Adriana Conconi Fedrigolli) were soon confuted, this incident highlighted the need for a serious scientific study of the almost 1400 beautiful and enigmatic drawings which make up the "Peterzano Fund".

In the past, researchers interested in these drawings had to wait a long time before they could consult the archive. To speed up this process, some changes in regulations in the Civiche Raccolte d'Arte (Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe at Castello Sforzesco) have been made recently, allowing researchers to consult 10 drawings a day.

Thanks to this project, which received a grant from the Nando Peretti Foundation, young researchers will be able to carry out a complete and thorough study of the drawings.

It is believed that the drawings were made by different artists, for various purposes. Researchers will analyze the drawing technique (paper color, pastel types, etc.) and then proceed to divide the drawings according to artists or schools, classifying them based on the stylistic approaches.

Experts agree that the drawings were made by different artists, for various clients. There are preliminary studies on paintings, mostly by Lombard artists between XVI and XVII century (Simone Peterzano, Giulio Cesare Procaccini, Giovan Battista Discepoli detto lo Zoppo da Lugano, etc.), and academic studies from Roman statues. These will probably remain anonymous; they are, however, very important to understand what an artist who grew up in Milan knew about ancient art and what type of artistic training was carried out in Lombard workshops.

Another important aspect of this project shall be to shed light on the origins of these drawings, in terms of where they came from, since little is known regarding the reason why the sheets were preserved in the Milanese church of Santa Maria presso San Celso.

The first part of the project shall be dedicated to a bibliographical research to study the drawings' techniques; the second part will focus on the attribution of the drawings to various artists in order to form homogeneous groups.
The project results can easily become a book: one or more volumes, classified according to the drawings' authors (for example a catalogue of drawings by Simone Peterzano, which comprise most of the fund) or school (Lombard drawings of the XVI century, XVII century and so on).

think global, act local
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