Zoom into 'Three Reclining Gods' by Giorgio Vasari

About this drawing

'Three Reclining River and Lakeland Gods', Giorgio Vasari (1511-1574)

Drawn about 1541-2

This scenery design for a play performed during a Venetian Carnival in 1534 is mischievous as well as academic. The man urinating into a bowl symbolises the Lake Garda emptying its waters into the River Po.

The play and scenery were commissioned by a group of young Venetian gentleman who were also amateur actors. The temporary nature of the scenery differs from Vasari's usual work producing decorative designs for the Medici family palace in Florence.

Zooming into the bottom left hand corner gives a chance to view the signature of the artist and writer Vasari.

By looking closer at the muscles of the Gods, you can see how Vasari made the bodies of his figures more realistic. By applying white lead in a series of crossing lines, known as hatching, Vasari recreated the effect of light falling on the body. This helps gives the bodies a three dimensional quality.

Accession number WAG 1995.314