Wedding Feast at Cana

ArtistLavinia Fontana (Italian, 1552–1614)
DatePainting (2022.28): about 1575–1580 / Drawing (2022.144): about 1575–1580
MediumPainting (2022.28): Oil on copper / Drawing (2022.144): Pen and brown ink over black chalk and heightened with white opaque watercolor; incised for transfer; partially squared for transfer
DimensionsPainting (2022.28): Unframed: 47.3 × 36.2 cm (18 5/8 × 14 1/4 in.) / Drawing (2022.144): Unframed: 45.3 × 36.6 cm (17 13/16 × 14 7/16 in.)
Accession Number2022.28 / 2022.144
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It is rare to have a finished painting and the compositional drawing from which it was directly made in the same museum collection, and this happy juxtaposition has enabled unparalleled insights into the working practices of Lavinia Fontana, the late Renaissance Bolognese artist. Lavinia’s sumptuous painting on copper of the Wedding Feast at Cana is a core work from the early part of her career, and the related drawing can now be identified as one of only two by Lavinia definitively connected to paintings, and as her earliest compositional sheet.1 Lavinia transferred this design directly to the copper support for her painting of the Wedding Feast at Cana. Close looking—allied with recent technical study—now opens a compelling window onto Lavinia’s creative process, while also emphasizing the significant relationship between Lavinia, the artist Prospero Fontana (her father), and the hugely influential Florentine painter and theorist Giorgio Vasari.

The Wedding Feast at Cana is a small painting on copper meant for private devotion. It depicts an episode from the life of Jesus, taken from the Gospel of John (2:1-11), which recounts how Jesus, his mother, and his disciples are invited to a wedding. When Mary notices that the wine has run out, Jesus delivers a sign of his divinity by turning water into wine at her request. In the painting, Jesus and Mary are seated at the center of the table, while the bridegroom sits on their right and the bride at the head of the table. Around the table are other guests, some standing and some seated, and behind them servants bringing plates with food. Fontana shows the moment when Jesus raises his hand in benediction. The prominent golden jugs in the near foreground are evidence of the miracle. The upper part of the composition is occupied by an elegant exedra-shaped peristyle, which is accessed via a double semicircular staircase, part concave and part convex. The left wall is occupied by a credenza with a rich display of silver plates.

Lavinia and her paintings on copper

Lavinia Fontana was aptly termed “Europe’s first female painter to attain professional success, not in court or convent, but in direct competition with male artists in her own city.”2 A contemporary of the Carracci, she lived in a city that became a major artistic center during her lifetime. The daughter of a successful local painter, Prospero Fontana (1512-1597), who enjoyed close connections with important patrons and other artists (not only locally), Lavinia was well situated for a successful career. Trained by her father, she was active in Bologna from at least 1575 until 1604, when she moved to Rome, where she died in 1614.3 In Bologna, Lavinia established herself as a popular portraitist, patronized first by university scholars and then by the local nobility, with a growing clientele of women. She also produced many small, private devotional pictures, a number of mythological paintings, and several large altarpieces. Whereas Fontana’s portraits reflect a traditional specialization for a woman painter, her activity as a religious painter was almost unprecedented.

In several of her private devotional works she used copper as a support. From the second half of the sixteenth century, works on this type of support by Flemish and German artists became widely circulated in Italy. Lavinia Fontana was among the first Italian painters to use this support at the outset of her career, probably owing to her direct contact with the Flemish painter Denis Calvaert (1540-1619), who was a pupil and a friend of her father’s, and a familiar in their home in via Galliera in Bologna.4 A more stable and durable support than wood and canvas, copper required less preparation and its non-absorbent and smooth surface resulted in enamel-like and glowing finished paintings.5 The intrinsic material value of the metal, combined with the refinement of the surface, generated especially precious objects, particularly admired by refined collectors and amateurs. In his biography of Calvaert, the Bolognese biographer Carlo Malvasia described how his rametti (“little coppers”) were sought after by the wealthy citizens of Bologna as gifts for novitiate nuns and young brides.6 It is possible that Lavinia’s own paintings on copper were also made for this purpose.

In terms of style and chronology, the palette, the ambition of the architectural background, and the marble floor of the Wedding Feast at Cana are reminiscent of Lavinia’s Christ in the House of Mary and Martha, the artist’s first documented public commission, painted for the chapel of the Conservatorio delle putte di Santa Marta, an institution that took care of the education of young girls who were at risk of prostitution.7 This work is generally dated about 1580. The motif of the precious marble floor reappears in other subsequent paintings on copper by Fontana such as the Holy Family with St. Elizabeth, St. John the Baptist and the Sleeping Child from the National Museum in Stockholm and another version (signed with a monogram) of the same composition that recently resurfaced at Dorotheum, Vienna, all dated to the early 1590s.8

Lavinia’s training, and sources for the Wedding Feast at Cana

When Lavinia made this drawing and painting, she was in her early- to mid-twenties, emerging from her father’s shadow and finding her artistic direction. As a woman painter, Lavinia was not allowed to receive the same instruction as her male peers; for example, she could not be an apprentice in another artist’s workshop outside her home, she could not study the nude, and she could not easily travel to visit art collections and studios to study other artists’ work. Her artistic formation was limited to what she could learn from her father within her own home. The composition of the Wedding Feast at Cana contains evidence, however, that she was still able to obtain a broader artistic education than one might expect.

Core to this was the fact that the Fontana family home held her father Prospero’s large collection of books, drawings, prints, and statues. In 1678, Malvasia described Prospero’s home as a gathering place where artists and the city’s intellectual elite came together.9 A sense of this learned, cultured upbringing can be gleaned from Lavinia’s 1579 Self-Portrait in which she chose to depict herself drawing in front of a sculpted nude male figure, while other fragments can be seen displayed nearby.

Among her father’s collection were numerous drawings by Giorgio Vasari, given to Prospero by the biographer-artist, with whom he collaborated on occasion. Prospero regularly used these drawings as sources of inspiration, and they provided the compositional basis for Prospero paintings that span dates from 1540 to 1565.10 Lavinia continued her father’s practice, and in the Getty Wedding Feast at Cana composition we can trace her use of a specific drawing by Giorgio Vasari and also her incorporation of elements from a sheet by Prospero.

The composition of Lavinia’s Wedding Feast at Cana

Lavinia took as her starting point for the composition of the Wedding Feast at Cana a lunette-shaped drawing of the same subject by Vasari, current location unknown (fig. 1).11 The two sheets share many identical details, including the seated figures at the table (among them the bride and groom at left), the prominent standing figure of the steward proffering the glass of wine in the right foreground, the seated, twisting woman at right, the cluster of amphorae in the center foreground, and the distinctive architectural backdrop. The plethora of precisely corresponding details makes it near-certain that this was the sheet used by Lavinia, even though Vasari produced a number of drawings on this theme throughout his career.12

Fig. 1. Giorgio Vasari, The Wedding Feast at Cana, about 1565. Pen and brown ink, brown wash, over black chalk. 280 x 555 mm. Location unknown [from Florian Härb, The Drawings of Giorgio Vasari (Rome: Ugo Bozzi, 2015), no. 174]
Fig. 1. Giorgio Vasari, The Wedding Feast at Cana, about 1565. Pen and brown ink, brown wash, over black chalk. 280 x 555 mm. Location unknown [from Florian Härb, The Drawings of Giorgio Vasari (Rome: Ugo Bozzi, 2015), no. 174]

The most conspicuous difference between Vasari’s lunette-shaped drawing and Lavinia’s rectangular sheet is found in her dramatic shift to a more vertical format, which led her to include additional servants bearing trays of food to the right and the large credenza displaying dishes to the left. A similar credenza is also found in Vasari’s painted version of this subject for the refectory of San Pietro in Perugia,13 and therefore, one assumes, in now lost preparatory drawings for that painting. Vasari executed the San Pietro panels in Florence in 1566 and then delivered them to Perugia. Probably not coincidentally, Lavinia’s father Prospero was working with Vasari in Florence at this same time, assisting him with the frescoes for the Palazzo Vecchio. It seems fair to assume that this was when Vasari gave Prospero the lunette-shaped drawing, and likely others, that he took back to Bologna. Prospero himself may have used Vasari’s drawing as the basis for a small Wedding Feast at Cana in the Pinacoteca Nazionale in Bologna, recently attributed to him by Daniele Benati.14

Lavinia added to her complex Vasari-based composition a direct citation from another drawing, this time one by her father. The two elaborate vessels perched on the edge of the credenza in Lavinia’s drawing are precisely copied—and at the same scale—from a sheet by Prospero now in the British Museum, originally the left-most part of another sheet also at the British Museum depicting a Feast of the Gods.15 Prospero made this drawing as an early idea for a fresco in the Villa Giulia, Rome.16 In it, he also cites motifs from other artists: for example, the satyr boy straddling a tiger is taken from Giulio Romano’s fresco Marriage of Cupid and Psyche in Palazzo Te, Mantua.17 By charting this system of citations, one can see how, without ever leaving her home in Bologna, Lavinia was able to “access” artworks in Perugia, Mantua, and Rome, transforming them into her own original creation. Beyond the two specifically identifiable drawings by Vasari and Prospero from which Lavinia took inspiration, it is clear that she was steeped in the work of these two figures.

Making her drawing

Close examination of the drawing reveals details of Lavinia’s studio practice.18 Before she sat down to draw, Lavinia glued two sheets of paper together to make a larger one, using an uneven paper overlap. The two sheets of paper both have the same watermark of a bird above three monticules within a shield, not yet identified.19 On the verso, the lower sheet has remnants of sixteenth-century handwriting vertically along the left margin, but these fragments are unfortunately not legible. The impression is of offcuts of paper being reused; the sheets are irregularly trimmed at the lapped joins and the chain lines run vertically in the lower two sheets, horizontally in the upper sheet. Returning to the recto of the sheet, we see that Lavinia began by sketching the Giorgio Vasari composition (from the lunette-shaped drawing in front of her) using black chalk. She then went over these lines in brown ink, occasionally omitting some of the less important elements, such as the foot of the table on the left, which remains only in black chalk. The ink lines are sometimes tentative and faltering as she follows the earlier design, particularly seen in the dress of the bride, seated at the left of the table. For the figures in the center of the composition she applied ink more heavily—now appearing darker than the rest of the composition, having faded to a lesser degree—and consequently the lines become more assertive. This is also evident in passages in which she modifies Vasari’s composition, such as in the left arm of the bridegroom.

Fig. 2. Transmitted light view of 2022.144
Fig. 2. Transmitted light view of 2022.144

At some point Lavinia added a third sheet of paper at the top, perhaps when she acquired the piece of copper on which she was to paint, or perhaps to render the vertical composition more balanced. Here she used a wider overlap join, and residue of the glue she employed still remains on the verso, having seeped from the join edge. The structure of the drawing is made clear in a photograph taken with transmitted light (fig. 2). Lavinia extended her drawn composition by finishing the top of the hemispherical colonnade and adding an entablature. She reinforced and extended some of the lines in the columns over the join between the second and third sheets. Multiple diagonal indented lines drawn with a ruler at top left attempt to plot the wall to the side, and Lavinia used a compass and indented lines to establish the curved shape of the entablature. The scene, which had previously “fizzled out” at the top in a similar place to Vasari’s original lunette design, now with her addition of the third sheet has a more complete, finished feel.

Transfer of the drawing to the copper support

As she prepared to transfer the design of the drawing, and before applying paint, Lavinia would have first readied the copper plate by roughening and preparing the surface to accept a priming layer. Microscopic examination shows that the priming used here consists of pigment bound in oil and—as often typical for the preparation of copper paintings—is very thin and a mid-tone gray in color.20

The process Lavinia used to transfer the drawing to the copper was likely to lay the drawing on the plate and to go over the ink lines with a pointed stylus.21 The Getty drawing is fully incised with the indentations that Lavinia used for this transfer. During this process, a drawing medium such as chalk would normally have been rubbed on the back of the sheet, with the pressure of the stylus creating corresponding lines on the panel’s ground. Yet there is no chalk on the verso of the Getty sheet, and it remains likely that she used an additional, intermediate sheet of paper. It is also possible that there was another drawing, lost or unknown to us, that represents an intermediate stage between this design and the composition transferred to the painting.

Infrared reflectography does not reveal clear underdrawing in the majority of the painting, although there are a few traces in places. This suggests that if the transferred design was done in a medium that is usually visible with this examination technique, such as black chalk or graphite, the lines are not visible because they were very faint and have been disguised by subsequent paint layers. Alternatively, the transfer medium may have consisted of a pigment that is not detectable, such as red chalk.

While the drawing and copper support are comparable in size, it is notable that the drawing is slightly wider and approximately 2 cm shorter (the painting measures 47.3 x 36.2 cm, while the drawing’s dimensions are 45.3 x 36.6 cm). Although seemingly a small difference in scale, for such a diminutive painting this would have complicated direct transfer of the drawing. Therefore, when Lavinia came to transfer her design to the copper plate, she appears to have remained faithful to the placement of certain features, but she made other changes at the outset, presumably to fill the extra space.

Fig. 3. Digital translucent overlay of The Wedding Feast at Cana (2022.144) over The Wedding Feast at Cana (2022.28) (overlay created by Kari Rayner)
Fig. 3. Digital translucent overlay of The Wedding Feast at Cana (2022.144) over The Wedding Feast at Cana (2022.28) (overlay created by Kari Rayner)

A to-scale digital overlay of the drawing on top of the painting shows that the placement of the top portion of the composition (the columns and upper stairs), the credenza at center left, and the bride at lower left all match their locations in the drawing relatively closely (fig. 3). Subsequently, Lavinia departed from the design in the drawing in the number, scale, and positioning of the other figures. Aside from the bride, the whole table of seated figures has been moved slightly back in the composition to yield a more coherent sense of space. The figures of Christ and his mother were slightly enlarged and relocated upwards towards the center of the composition, enhancing their prominence as a focal point. At the same time, the collection of amphorae was lowered to occupy the foreground more fully. Other details that differ from the original design appear to have been drawn in freehand, such as the number and perspective of the lower set of stairs.

While these modifications to the individuals seated at the table would have been relatively straightforward to make, adjusting the cluster of gesticulating figures at right so that they adequately filled the space may have been more daunting. Perhaps for this reason, the bottom right-hand quadrant of the drawing was squared in black chalk. Lavinia seems to have used this squaring as a tool to elongate these figures (for example, the overlay reveals that the wine steward is proportionally taller by about 20% in the painting than in the drawing). In this way, Lavinia deftly balanced and pulled together the painted composition. In the process she also brought further clarity by subtracting one of the servants bearing a plate of food behind Christ and removing the archway visible at center right. Only some traces of the black chalk grid remain, since at some stage there was an attempt to carefully erase it by means of scraping out, using a knife to remove the chalk. This is evident from the disruption to the paper surface, now somewhat abraded where the black chalk lines were. During erasure, care was taken not to disturb the design; the lines of the composition have been noticeably left intact in instances when they cross. 22

What to keep, what to change?

Fig. 4. Infrared reflectogram of The Wedding Feast at Cana (2022.28) (image captured by Kari Rayner)
Fig. 4. Infrared reflectogram of The Wedding Feast at Cana (2022.28) (image captured by Kari Rayner)

In addition to the significant compositional changes that are apparent from comparison of the drawing and painting, the infrared reflectogram (fig. 4) shows that Lavinia faithfully transferred additional elements that feature in her drawing to the early layers of paint, but ultimately discarded them in the painting as we see it now. These include: the two male figures in profile in front of the credenza; the two vessels (borrowed from her father’s drawing) on top of the credenza; the configuration of the amphorae in the foreground (in particular, we see the ghost of the “5” shaped handle of the one at left); and the dagger at the waist of the steward in the right foreground (which has become longer and narrower). This steward also bears a more vertical wine glass rather than the flatter, broader type.

Mary’s headdress and facial features appear different in the infrared reflectogram in comparison with the painted surface, and slight revisions may have been made around Christ’s head as well. The hands of Christ and his mother have gone through several iterations. It seems that Christ’s proper right hand was originally placed over his mother’s on the table (as in Vasari’s original design) and Mary’s proper left hand was initially held in a more draped manner, as in the Getty drawing, rather than pressed flat to her chest. Examination of the paint under the microscope suggests that Lavinia cleverly disguised this compositional change: she incorporated the cuff of what was initially Christ’s drapery into Mary’s sleeve and covered other traces of the prior placement with a folded napkin and a knife. She also shifted the groom’s outstretched proper left arm to fill the resulting space, replacing the former hand with a folded napkin. Christ’s proper left hand may also have initially been upraised in blessing, as in the drawing. However, this is difficult to determine with certainty, since subsequent layers of paint were applied to reinforce the negative space between Christ and the wine steward, and this paint blocks evidence of the previous composition.

While this summary outlines the major changes that took place, Lavinia made myriad other minute adjustments throughout the picture.

A pointer to other drawings by Lavinia

Having a securely attributed drawing by Lavinia from early in her career potentially enables art-historians to begin adding similar sheets to her corpus on the basis of careful stylistic comparison. Up until now, the drawings known by Lavinia have been centered around two groups of portrait studies in black and red chalk that are today in the Morgan Library and Museum in New York and the Uffizi in Florence.23 But comparing sheets drawn in different media can be problematic, and consequently the attributions of drawings made in ink, and of compositional drawings of any sort, have been speculative.

The only other compositional sheet that is related to a painting by Lavinia is a drawing of a very different type in the Louvre24: it is made in blue wash with abundant white heightening, a scene of the Birth of the Virgin featuring a vertiginous and dramatic night-time composition. It is squared for transfer in red chalk and relates to a large painting by Lavinia in Santissima Trinità, Bologna. In the painting the composition is followed carefully, but there are slight changes including the fact that the heads of at least two protagonists are turned to make their faces more visible. It also seems that the scene has been moved back slightly into a clearer, more coherent, space, in the same manner as the Getty composition, but the blue Louvre drawing has clearly been cut down on all sides and this is difficult to confirm.

As a securely attributed pen and ink drawing by Lavinia, the Getty sheet reveals an artist steeped in the work of Giorgio Vasari and of her father Prospero. Given the evolution of the composition from works by those two artists, it is perhaps not surprising that the figures betray a similar sense of purposeful decorative intent. Perhaps the most telling elements stylistically for Lavinia are the figures carrying food at center right that she inserted freehand over hasty black chalk work after transferring the Vasari design. They are animated characters articulated by liberal white heightening (not strictly needed since they are not strongly lit in the painting); their outlines are drawn with scratchy pen strokes and frequently reinforced, and also showing a free approach to anatomy.

From the corpus of drawings currently tentatively attributed to Lavinia, two compositional sheets made in ink that seem to reflect the approach and style of the secure Getty drawing are in the Louvre and the Uffizi. The Louvre sheet25 has an old pen inscription, perhaps autograph, Lavinia Fontana, and is a combination of two elements from Raphael’s Stanza d’Eliodoro in the Vatican: the figure of Jacob from the Dream of Jacob and an angel taken (and turned 90 degrees) from the Sacrifice of Isaac, the two perhaps assembled from reproductive prints. The Uffizi drawing,26 featuring Saint Ursula and the Virgins, is likely to be a compositional creation by Lavinia herself, and it is squared for transfer for a painting that has yet to be identified. The figures are depicted with a variable weight of line and a similar sense of animation and character to the Getty drawing.

Scholars have in the past noted that even Lavinia’s earliest drawings and paintings do not betray a strong debt to her father, Prospero’s, style.27 And yet we can see here that this is not always the case, and that she was immersed, necessarily, in her father’s workshop and that resonances of his style come through. But it is also clear that Lavinia was exposed to a larger set of influences than one might assume for a young woman artist, and that she processed and integrated these into her practice in thoughtful and creative ways.


As we get to know Lavinia as an artist, this case study provides a window into the way that she worked, in terms of her sources, techniques, and creativity. The evolution of her design from first conception in the drawing to the final iteration of the painting shows that she was actively and sensitively revising her composition at each stage of the process. To have this so clearly demonstrated by the drawing and painting of The Wedding Feast at Cana is a valuable step forward in the study of Lavinia’s early work, and will no doubt pave the way for further discoveries.

  • Elizabeth Bernick, Julian Brooks, Davide Gasparotto, Kari Rayner, J. Paul Getty Museum, Departments of Drawings and Paintings
    December 2022

  1. For an overview of Lavinia’s graphic oeuvre, see Maria Teresa Cantaro, Lavinia Fontana Bolognese: “Pittora Singolare” 1552–1614 (Milan: Jandi Sapi, 1989); Babette Bohn, Women Artists, Their Patrons, and Their Publics in Early Modern Bologna (University Park: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2021), pp. 175–181; Eve Straussman-Pflanzer and Oliver Totsmann, eds., By Her Hand: Artemisia Gentileschi and Women Artists in Italy 1500–1800, exh. cat. (Detroit: Detroit Institute of Arts, 2022), pp. 88–91, no. 18, entry by Babette Bohn.
  2. Caroline P. Murphy, Lavinia Fontana: A Painter and her Patrons in Sixteenth-Century Bologna (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003), p. 1.
  3. For an overview of Fontana’s career see Vera Fortunati, “Fontana, Lavinia,” in Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, Vol. 48 (1997) (
  4. Edgar Peters Bowron, “A Brief History of European Oil Paintings on Copper, 1560-1775”, in Michael Komanecky, ed., Copper as Canvas: Two Centuries of Masterpiece Paintings on Copper, 1535-1775 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), pp. 13–14.
  5. Isabel Horovitz, “The Materials and Techniques of European Paintings on Copper Supports,” in ed. Komanecky 1999 (note 4), pp. 63–92.
  6. Carlo Cesare Malvasia, Felsina Pittrice: Vite dei Pittori Bolognesi (Bologna, 1678), ed. Marcella Brascaglia (Bologna: ALFA, 1971), p. 166.
  7. Cantaro 1989 (note 1), pp. 96–97, no. 4a.24.
  8. Cantaro, 1989 (note 1), pp. 156–157, no. 4a.64; for the painting recently on the market (sale, Dorotheum, Vienna, 10 November, 2020, lot. 42) see They are both smaller renditions (with variants) of the larger painting on canvas executed by Lavinia in 1589 and later acquired by King Philip II of Spain for the Escorial. See Leticia Ruiz Gómez, ed., Historia de dos pintoras. Sofonisba Anguissola y Lavinia Fontana, exh. cat. (Madrid: Museo Nacional del Prado, 2019), pp. 206–207, no. 53, entry by A. Pérez de Tudela.
  9. Malvasia 1971 (note 6), pp. 140–141.
  10. On Prospero’s use of Vasari’s drawings, see Florian Härb, “Prospero Fontana alias Giorgio Vasari: Collaboration and the Limits of Authorship,” in eds. Catherine Monbeig Goguel, Philippe Costamagna, and Michel Hochmann, Francesco Salviati et la Bella Maniera: Actes des colloques de Rome et de Paris 1998 (Rome: École française de Rome, 2001), pp. 577–608.
  11. Florian Härb, The Drawings of Giorgio Vasari (Rome: Ugo Bozzi, 2015) no. 174.
  12. In his 2015 catalog raisonné of Vasari’s drawings (note 11), Florian Härb published seven drawings by or after Vasari that depict a Marriage at Cana (nos. 173, 174, 175, 336.4, 336.5, plus a drawing now in Budapest and another in a private collection). He dates nos. 173–75 to ca. 1545–50 and suggests they could be connected to a commission Vasari received to fresco a refectory in Naples (now lost). He dates 336.4–5 and what he determines to be copies in Budapest and a private collection to the Marriage at Cana to ca. 1564–66 and connects them to a commission for San Pietro in Perugia. Some of these drawings are also discussed in Alessandro Cecchi, “Disegni inediti o poco noto di Giorgio Vasari,” in ed. Monika Cämmerer, Kunst des Cinquecento in der Toskana (Munich: F. Bruckmann, 1992), pp. 242–48 and David Franklin, “Giorgio Vasari’s Marriage Feast at Cana in Budapest,” Bulletin du Musée Hongrois des Beaux-Arts 95 (2001), pp. 79–90.
  13. It is somewhat hidden in the darkness at left.
  14. For the painting in Bologna see Jadranka Bentini et al, Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna: Catalogo generale 2: Da Raffaello ai Carracci (Venice: Marsilio, 2010), pp. 118–120, no. 80, entry by Elena Rossoni, where the painting is considered as by an anonymous painter from Parma. Benati proposed the attribution to Prospero in an unpublished report that he wrote about The Wedding Feast of Cana by Fontana for the Gallery of Nicholas Hall in New York. If Prospero himself had used Vasari’s design as the basis for a painting of the Marriage at Cana, it can be no surprise that he advised his daughter to do the same. Lavinia’s composition, however, bears little resemblance to Prospero’s painting except for the placement and poses of several people around the table.
  15. The left side of the composition showing a satyr boy straddling a tiger and the credenza was sold by the Kunstkabinett in 2002 and later acquired by the British Museum in 2008, while the right half of the sheet depicting the feast has been in the British Museum since 1875. Hugo Chapman identified the two sheets as originally forming one.
  16. John Gere, “The Decoration of the Villa Giulia,” Burlington Magazine 107 (1965), pp. 199–207. Gere was the first to attribute 1875,0710.2631 to Prospero. Florian Härb (note 10, p. 583, note 24) and Marzia Faietti (“Disegni Giovanile di Prospero Fontana: Da Perino del Vaga a Vasari, attraverso Salviati,” in eds. Catherine Monbeig Goguel, Philippe Costamagna, and Michel Hochmann, Francesco Salviati et la Bella Maniera: Actes des colloques de Rome et de Paris 1998 (Rome: École française de Rome, 2001), p. 548) have repeated the attribution.
  17. Prospero’s drawing was analyzed by Monroe Warshaw when he offered it for sale, see Kunstkabinett: Old Master Drawings, New York 2002, no. 4.
  18. We are indebted to Getty paper conservator Michelle Sullivan for her insights and assistance with the close study of the drawing.
  19. In the 2020 auction catalogue and dealer materials for the (now Getty) drawing, the watermark is identified as “similar to Briquet 12235 and 12236,” but only some elements are similar, and no comparative watermarks have yet been found.
  20. See Laura Fuster López et al, Paintings on Copper and other Metal Plates: Production, Degradation, and Conservation Issues (Valencia: Departamento de Conservación y Restauración de Bienes Culturales, Universitat Politécnica de Valencia, 2017).
  21. We are grateful to our colleague Naoko Takahatake at the Getty Research Institute for studying the drawing and for discussing transfer techniques to copper.
  22. This practice is extremely unusual, and seems very deliberately intended to preserve the design by removing the unsightly black chalk squaring lines. It is unclear who did this, but given the practice in the Fontana studio of keeping drawings for future use it is quite possible that Lavinia herself modified the sheet in this way.
  23. See note 1 above.
  24. Louvre, inv. no. 21111. Catherine Loisel, Dessins bolonais du XVIIe siècle (Milan: Officina Libraria, 2013), Vol. 2, p. 284, no. 411.
  25. Dominique Cordellier and Bernadette Py, Raphaël, son atelier, ses copistes (Paris: Réunion des Musées Nationaux, 1992), no. 338; Loisel 2013 (note 24), p. 284, no. 410.
  26. Uffizi, inv. 4325 S. See Cantaro 1989 (note 1), pp. 234–235, no. 4b.108B.
  27. Murphy 2003 (note 2), pp. 22–24.