Unknown artist, after Michelangelo Buonarotti (1475-1564; Italian)
Battle of Pisa
Engraving (?)
Date of acquisition unknown (by 1905)
Unidentified; present location unknown 

In 1504-5, Michelangelo produced a full-scale cartoon of the battle of Cascina, at which the Florentines defeated the Pisans, in 1364, thus securing access to the Mediterranean via the Arno. It was designed for his proposed fresco in the Great Hall of the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence, intended to match Leonardo da Vinci’s Battle of Anghiari on the opposite wall. In the end, neither fresco eventuated.

Several copies of sections of Michelangelo’s cartoon are known, notably a grisaille version on panel by Aristotele or Bastiano da Sangallo (Holkham Hall, Norfolk, c.1542).

What form the work listed in NGV 1905 took is unclear; it may have been an autotype reproduction, or a print based on the Sangallo copy, which was also reproduced by various later engravers, e.g. Schiavonetti – for whom, see * Schiavonetti after Phillips William Blake {by 1894} Loc? [PR].

[comparative photo: Schiavonetti engraving  after Michelangelo, 1808]


NGV 1905, p.122 (V.Buvelot Gallery, 2nd bay, no.20: listed simply as “after the cartoon by Michel Angelo”) 

For Michelangelo’s composition, see the recent comments by Michael Hirst, Michelangelo, Volume I: the Achievement of Fame1475-1534, New Haven & London: Yale UP, 2011, pp.56-60 (reproducing the Holkham Hall copy, pl.14)

For the Wellcome Library impression of Schiavonetti’s engraving, reproduced above, see e.g. http://art-in-space.blogspot.com/2018/03/luigi-schiavonetti-battle-of-cascina.html (accessed 24 March 2020)