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Perspective drawing of a palace facade

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This drawing was assembled from three separate sheets of paper. On the front — or recto — two horizontal overlapping seams betray where they are glued together. The two lower sheets measure about 17 by 21 inches each. Across the top, a narrow three-inch strip completes the support. Since the drawing was trimmed — this is particularly evident along the right edge, where some of the architecture has been cut away — the original support must have been slightly larger all around.

The architectural image, a large perspective view of a two-story palace façade, was executed in dark brown ink with straight edge and compass.

A quill pen was used to fill in freehand decorative details such as column bases and capitals. The receding parallel lines of the perspective were laid down to a vanishing point located in the central projecting archway. A few short incised lines were employed as guidelines. As a whole the drawing was surely conceived and developed in earlier preparatory sketches, but because it lacks a horizon line, highlights, shadows, figures, or other naturalistic features, it looks unfinished.

Soon after the drawing was made, an inscription was added to the post of the balustrade in the foreground. It reads: "Baldasar da Siena fe[cit] (Balthazar from Siena made this)." This is not a signature — Peruzzi was not in the habit of autographing his drawings and the handwriting is not his — but the script and the omission of Peruzzi’s family name follow sixteenth-century conventions. The caption undoubtedly came from an early owner. Early inscriptions on the MIT drawing identify the creator as the great Renaissance architect Baldassarre Peruzzi (1481-1536).

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