Bishop Holding a Candle (recto); Draped Legs (verso)

Object Details


Bishop Holding a Candle (recto); Draped Legs (verso)


Vittore Carpaccio (Italian, about 1460 - 1526)




Italy (Place created)




Brush and wash, heightened with white gouache, black chalk


20.2 × 11.1 cm (7 15/16 × 4 3/8 in.)

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The imposing figure of a bishop holding a long taper stick and climbing the stairs fills this slightly irregularly shaped drawing. As he mounts the stairs, the bishop turns to gaze sadly out at the viewer.

After delicately drawing in the man's form with pen and brown wash, Vittore Carpaccio went over his long cape, beard, and pointed hat with fine lines of white bodycolor, giving a sense of shimmering texture to the drapery's deep folds. He made this drawing as a preparatory study for part of a painting, completed in 1493.

The verso, by contrast, is a fragmentary study related to a much later picture. This horizontal image shows the legs of a seated figure that have been delicately draped with cloth. Here Carpaccio used the white bodycolor not only to create highlights in the fabric but also to suggest the form and position of the legs as they lift and shape their flimsy covering.

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
From Line to Light: Renaissance Drawing in Florence and Venice (July 20 to October 10, 2010) (recto)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), July 20 to October 10, 2010