© University of Oxford - Ashmolean Museum
The man sits, naked, on a heap of draperies which are supported by something soft and indistinct. Although it is in fact monochrome, the photograph has been toned to match the colour of the original sheet.
The drawing, in red chalk, is now in the Louvre. It is one of a series of studies made by Correggio for his fresco of "The Vision of St John", painted in the cupola of the church of San Giovanni Evangelista in Parma between 1520 and 1522. It depicts one of the apostles who ring the base of the cupola as the Christ of St John's vision appears in the centre above them, and foms part of a sequence of drawings establishing the arrangement of the three apostles who are visible from the nave of the church (i.e. painted on the eastern side of the cupola). In fact, Ruskin misidentified the drawing, calling it a 'Sketch of St John'. 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 study for the Virgin from the school of Correggio. 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 'muscles of his arms and breast'.
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 Examples Arranged for Elementary Study in the University Galleries (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1870), cat. Standard no. 14
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, ‘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