Study of Foliage from 'Wisdom Victorious over Vice', after MantegnaArtist:
, British, 1852 - 1917
, Italian, 1431 - 1506
Material and Medium: watercolour and bodycolour on paper
Dimensions: Mount: 337 x 283mm
Support: 285 x 217mm
Accession Number: CGSG00308
This study of tree foliage is a detail taken from a large painting by Andrea Mantegna, 'Pallas Expelling the Vices from the Garden of Virtue' (also known as 'Wisdom Victorious over Vice'). He painted this work between 1499 and 1502, for the Ducal Palace in Mantua. This tree is from a small part of the background to the painting, the main focus being various classical figures.
Ruskin commissioned this watercolour from Randal in December 1886, asking the artist to choose his 'own bits of the Mantegna Foliage.' He had previously said that Mantegna was 'the most wonderful leaf-painter of Lombardy.' Though Ruskin believed that artists should strive to depict the structure of each leaf, he was more concerned that leaves did not appear on tree depictions as a general mass, but as 'individulated' forms. Therefore, whilst he didn’t approve of the idealised or rather perfect form of Mantegna's leaf depiction, he wrote admiringly of the composition of his leaves and their strict 'ornamental relations.'