© University of Oxford - Ashmolean Museum
The model for the Virgin is depicted naked, her arms resting on the shoulders of the two putti (angels) who hover, one on each side of her. Another putto hovers on the left, behind the putto lifting the Virgin, holding a flaming torch in one hand. Although it is in fact monochrome, the photograph has been toned to match the colour of the original sheet.
The drawing is now given to the school of Correggio, and of uncertain date (although clearly sixteenth-century); it is in the Louvre. If the print is an oil print rather than a carbon print, it would be a later replacement for Ruskin's original image, as the technique was not invented until 1904.
The image was first recorded in the Teaching Collection in 1870, when Ruskin listed it in frame 14 in the Standard Series in the "Catalogue of Examples", along with a photograph of a Correggio drawing of a nude man. Both were included as examples of the use of chalk. In "The Relation between Michael Angelo and Tintoret" (§ 21 = XXII.95-96), these drawings exemplified Correggio's 'delight in the body for its own sake', which he shared with Michelangelo and Tintoretto - in this case, particularly the 'rounding of limbs and softness of foot resting on cloud'.
Presented by John Ruskin to the Ruskin Drawing School (University of Oxford), 1875; transferred from the Ruskin Drawing School to the Ashmolean Museum, c.1949.
Ruskin, John, Catalogue of the Reference Series Including Temporarily the First Section of the Standard Series (London: Smith, Elder, ), cat. Standard no. 14
Ruskin, John, Catalogue of Examples Arranged for Elementary Study in the University Galleries (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1870), cat. Standard no. 14
Ruskin, John, ‘The Relation Between Michael Angelo and Tintoret. Seventh of the Course of Lectures on Sculpture Delivered at Oxford, 1870-71’, Edward T. Cook and Alexander Wedderburn, eds, The Works of John Ruskin: Library Edition, 39 (London: George Allen, 1903-1912), 22
Ruskin, John, ‘The Ruskin Art Collection at Oxford: Catalogues, Notes and Instructions’, Edward T. Cook and Alexander Wedderburn, eds, The Works of John Ruskin: Library Edition, 39 (London: George Allen, 1903-1912), 21, cat. Standard no. 14