About this artwork
As the heroic sun god Apollo drives his four-horse chariot (the semicircle of the sun directly behind him), Aurora, goddess of the dawn, strews flowers in his path, announcing his—and the new day’s—arrival. Lelio Orsi’s drawing is a final preparatory sketch for an illusionistic outdoor fresco (now lost) on the clock tower in the central square of the northern Italian city of Reggio Emilia.
Orsi was so successful in suggesting the god’s powerful forward thrust that Apollo looks as if he is about to leap from his chariot and out of the picture plane. Orsi derived his heroic, classicizing graphic style primarily from Michelangelo.
On loan to The Morgan Library and Museum for Pure Drawing: Seven Centuries of Art from the Gray Collection
- Prints and Drawings
- Lelio Orsi
- Apollo Driving the Chariot of the Sun
- Pen and black ink, with brush and brown wash, heightened with white opaque watercolor, with incising, on cream laid paper prepared with a light brown wash, laid down on thick laid paper
- 247 × 334 mm (primary support); 322 × 409 mm (secondary support)
- Gift of Richard and Mary L. Gray