Marriage of a Patrician Couple

Niccolò dell'Abbateabout 1540–1545

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum
Los Angeles, United States

Italian nobles dressed in their finery gather in pairs or small groups as they enjoy the wedding festivities of a noble couple. Nicolò dell'Abate may have drawn this scene from the popular romantic epics Orlando innamorato and Orlando furioso, which looked back on medieval chivalry with Renaissance nostalgia.

Nicolò dell'Abate made this highly finished oil sketch as a study for a painting. The tiny holes pricked in the figures in the left foreground indicate that they were being prepared for transfer to a wall, canvas, or panel. The artist or his assistants would have blown fine charcoal dust through the holes to reproduce the exact design.

Three related studies by Nicolò, similar in size, shape, and style, also depict chivalric subjects, again possibly from the Orlando cycle. He may have used all these drawings in preparation for an Orlando cycle that he painted in the ducal palace in Sassuolo, near Modena.


  • Title: Marriage of a Patrician Couple
  • Creator: Nicolò dell'Abate
  • Date Created: about 1540–1545
  • Physical Dimensions: 40.6 × 47.8 cm (16 × 18 13/16 in.)
  • Type: Drawing
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Oil on paper, some foreground figures pricked for transfer
  • Terms of Use: Open Content
  • Number: 87.GG.41
  • Culture: Italian
  • Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Creator Display Name: Nicolò dell'Abate (Italian, 1509/1512 - 1571)
  • Classification: Drawings (Visual Works)

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