Attributed to Niccolò dell’Abbate (Italian, 1509/12–1571), Alcina Receiving Roger, ca. 1548–5
Illustrating a scene from Ludovico Ariosto’s 1532 epic poem Orlando furioso, this drawing shows the sorceress Alcina at right welcoming Roger (Ruggerio) on horseback to her enchanted island. A tale of war, love, and chivalry set against a war between the Christian emperor Charlemagne and the African Saracen King Agramante, the story is filled with fantastical beasts and otherworldly events. The Italian mannerist artist Niccolò dell’Abbate painted this scene in fresco for the Palazzo Torfanini in Bologna. This is either a preparatory drawing for the fresco or perhaps a study made by a follower of Abbate's shortly after the fresco was painted. Abbate worked in Modena and Bologna and was one of several artists who decorated the French royal Palace of Fontainebleau, bringing the ideals of the Italian Renaissance to France.