Storia dell’Arte 132, Aprile -Agosto 2012
Notes on the drawings of the Papyrus of Artemidorus
A careful analysis of those images of the drawings of the Papyrus of Artemidorus in the context of ancient and modern art enables revealing the Papyrus’ origins. Examples of ancient art might have been used as models for those drawings, such as the Palestrina mosaic or portrait busts of gods, but they do not confirm the authenticity of the Papyrus. On the contrary, in the context of ancient drawing there appears a distressing matter whether ancient Greeks or Romans made analytical drawings of details of human body. The recto sketches recall drawings of 17th and 18th century sketchbooks, such as the manual of Gerard de Laraisse. The verso drawings also evoke modern monochrome paintings rather than the ancient compositions in the context of their style. After an overall study of the drawings the only logical conclusion is that the Papyrus of Artemidorus is a modern forgery, a pasticcio that comprises styles of many epochs trying to imitate ancient art. It is very possible to name the forger as Constantine Simonides, but perhaps it is a 20th century forgery?