The gridded pattern superimposed over the figures in this scene indicates that this drawing was used a preparatory study for one of Domenichino’s frescoes depicting the four cardinal virtues inside the dome of the Church of San Carlo ai Catinari in Rome. This technique—called squaring—was a common method used in seventeenth-century Italy to transfer a design from one surface to another. Domenichino prepared the design on three separate sheets of paper, all with irregular edges cut and pasted onto a larger sheet. At the top, the allegorical figure of Temperance, one of four cardinal virtues, reclines gracefully on a cloud. She holds a palm branch in her left hand and extends her right out toward a hovering <em>putto</em> in the upper left corner. The changes made to Temperance’s right hand and the presence of two camel heads (only one appears in the finished fresco) reveal the artist’s process for working out the poses and placements of the figures in his composition.

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  • Title: Temperance
  • Creator: Domenichino (Italian, 1581–1641)
  • Date Created: 1628–30
  • Physical Dimensions: Sheet: 59.2 x 43.7 cm (23 5/16 x 17 3/16 in.); Secondary Support: 61.2 x 45.7 cm (24 1/8 x 18 in.); Tertiary Support: 61.2 x 45.7 cm (24 1/8 x 18 in.)
  • Provenance: Lord Barrymore, Prof. J. Isaacs. His sale, Sotheby’s, London, 27 February, 1964, no. 24 (as 17th century Italian School), Gemma Donati, The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
  • Type: Drawing
  • Rights: CC0
  • External Link: https://clevelandart.org/art/1964.445
  • Medium: black chalk heightened with white chalk, squared with black chalk
  • Inscriptions: verso of secondary support, lower left, in graphite: I. 1081 [circled]; lower center, in graphite: ? [Pelio?] [Candio?]; lower center, in graphite: 204.; lower center, in graphite: From the coll of Lord Barrymore; verso of secondary and tertiary supports, lower right, in graphite: Carlone (Carlo) Scaria 1686-1776 / Design for a Sculpture / Black Crayon; verso of tertiary support, lower right, in graphite: [illegible]
  • Fun Fact: Despite having carefully prepared the composition for his fresco of Temperance with this and other drawings, Domenichino left Rome before completing the painting. It was later finished by one of his pupils.
  • Department: Drawings
  • Culture: Italy, 17th century
  • Credit Line: Dudley P. Allen Fund
  • Collection: DR - Italian
  • Accession Number: 1964.445

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