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  • image M541

Section of an enriched Renaissance spandrel panel


Luna marble

Height: 65cm
Width (top): 64.5cm
Thickness: 6cm

Museum number: M541

Vermeule catalogue number: Vermeule 177Ahelp-vermeule-catalogue-number

Curatorial note

On this panel, within a double, recessed moulding, a series of acanthus leaves, tendrils, flowers and rosettes is carved with extreme delicacy in a balanced pattern rising from two acanthus leaves.

This panel appears to be Renaissance workmanship, possibly from a dismantled tomb. Vermeule included it in his catalogue of antiquities in the Soane Museum because of its close relationship to the antique fragments collected by Tatham's, although in his etchings Tatham labelled this piece 'A Fragment of the Cinque Cento'. It is probably work of the late fourteenth or High Renaissance fifteenth century, more specifically, A. Bregno schools in Rome, since that is its provenance.

For the antique parallel, compare the famous Augustan prototype carving of the Ara Pacis foliate panels (see under Vermeule no.132) and the similar fine tendril work on a fragment of spandrel shape in the Vatican1 . Another close ancient parallel in delicacy of representation and workmanship, particularly in the stems and flowers, is the small relief panel with cherub-masks and tendrils, etc. in the Leda Gallery of the Villa Torlonia-Albani (no.214).

Among Renaissance tombs, the spandrel and pilaster secondary details of Michelangelo's tombs of Pope Julius II, intended for St. Peter's Basilica and set up in its present form in S. Pietro in Vincoli feature similar enrichment. This style of carving also appears in the base panel of the Andrea Sansovino tomb of Ascanio Sforza (+1505) in S. Maria del Popolo2 and the tomb of Meriadux Cicada, dated 1481 and by Antonio Bregno himself, in the Roman church of S. Giovanni dei Genovese.

Soane collected a number of casts of similar Renaissance ornament, some from the panels on the tomb of Pope Julius II by Michelangelo.

1 Amelung, V.C. I, p. 772, no. 679, pl. 82.
2 Photo Chauffourier, no. 987; Muntz, Renaissance, II, p. 346.

Provenance help-art-provenance

Rome; collected in Rome by Charles Heathcote Tatham for the architect Henry Holland during the 1790s. See Cornelius Vermeule, unpublished Catalogue of the Antiquities at Sir John Soane's Museum, Introduction, transcription of Tatham letters, List 3, no.38.


Tatham: Etchings, 10; Drawings, 8.

If you have any further information about this object, please contact us: worksofart@soane.org.uk