Study of the Head of a Bearded Man

Object Details


Study of the Head of a Bearded Man


Giovanni Girolamo Savoldo (Italian (Lombard), about 1480 - after 1548)




Italy (Place created)


about 1533


Black and white chalk on gray-green paper


30.6 × 22.9 cm (12 1/16 × 9 in.)

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Caught in quiet contemplation, this unidentified man gazes intently downward. Giovanni Girolamo Savoldo's mastery of chalk and his careful use of shadows and highlights increase the sense of drama in this characteristically penetrating, naturalistic portrayal, one of many that influenced generations of artists.

In particular, Savoldo varied the texture and thickness of his strokes of black chalk to create a range of effects. On the left side of the sheet, for example, a mass of inky lines silhouettes the edge of the man's face. Savoldo drew the chalk lines around the edge of his chin more lightly, giving the impression of a wispy mustache and beard that softens into the hollows of his neck and cheeks. The gray-green tone of the paper serves as a middle tone between the black outlines and the white gleam on the man's forehead and ear.


Giuseppe Vallardi


Countess Adelheid Lanckoronska, 1903 - 1980


Private Collection (France)


Hans Calmann

North Italian Drawings of the 15th through the 17th Century (July 27 to October 10, 1993)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), July 27 to October 10, 1993
Casting Characters: Portraits and Studies of Heads (November 4, 2003 to February 1, 2004)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), November 4, 2003 to February 1, 2004
From Line to Light: Renaissance Drawing in Florence and Venice (July 20 to October 10, 2010)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), July 20 to October 10, 2010