Varotari, Alessandro, also called ‘il Padovanino’ (1588-1649; Italian)
Study of a Stooping Boy
Black chalk, heightened with white, c. 38.1 x 25.4 cm (15” x 10”)
Gift of Eliezer Montefiore, 1869
Present location unknown

This is the only one of the Old Master drawings recorded as donated to the NGV by Montefiore in 1869 to be identified although, like the others, it can no longer be traced.

As reproduced by Nicholas Draffin in 1987 (as shown here), this work carried an old inscription at lower left indicating an attribution to Padovanino. In the 1894 and 1905 NGV catalogues, the drawing is described as “Study of Male Figure,” and the artist’s details are given as “F.Padovanino, 1561-1617,” approximating the details now known regarding the artist, who was born in Padua (hence his nick-name), and moved to Venice in 1614, where he worked in a late Mannerist/early Baroque style, in the lineage of Titian.

Draffin also notes that a second drawing attributed to the same artist (and evidently from the same sheet) was given to the Art Gallery of New South Wales by Montefiore in 1883; that drawing remains in the Sydney collection. It suggests that the present drawing (and, by implication, the other drawings donated to Melbourne by Montefiore in 1869) may have been original.


NGV 1894, p.106 (V.Buvelot Gallery, 2nd bay, no.17); NGV 1905, p.118 (V.Buvelot Gallery, 2nd bay, no.7) 

For Montefiore, see Nicholas Draffin, “An enthusiastic amateur of the arts: Eliezer Montefiore in Melbourne 1853-71,” Art Bulletin of Victoria 28 (1987): the present drawing is reproduced as fig.8, p.105. For Varotari, see Bénézit 14, pp.45-46 (as Varotari); also useful is For the AGNSW drawing, see (with reproduction; artist’s name and dates given as Francesco Padovanino, 1561-1617)