Nativity (recto); Turbaned Woman (verso)

Object Details


Nativity (recto); Turbaned Woman (verso)


Guido Reni (Italian, 1575 - 1642)




Italy (Place created)


about 1640 - 1642


Black, red and white chalk (recto); red chalk (verso)


28.3 × 17.4 cm (11 1/8 × 6 7/8 in.)

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Though drawing the holy subject of the Virgin and Child, Guido Reni simply captured the intimacy of a woman cradling her infant. Other than their attractiveness, he gave no indication that this baby or this woman was divine. When he later painted the group as The Holy Family Adored by Saints Elizabeth and John the Baptist, he idealized the figures more and made them more majestic to indicate their biblical importance.

Using sharp, rather scratchy strokes and a somewhat irregular use of red chalk, Reni sketched the Virgin's face, the center of the group, and her foot. Artists often combined red and black chalks to suggest color distinctions associated with faces, hair, costumes, and other details. Reni's judicious use of white against the light paper gives the effect of the Virgin's drapery shimmering in the light.

On the verso, Reni sketched a turban such as a sibyl might wear, with the barest indication of earrings and a scarf.

16th and 17th Century Italian Drawings (December 15, 1992 to February 28, 1993)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), December 15, 1992 to February 28, 1993
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
Two Centuries of Drawings from Bologna (December 15, 1998 to February 28, 1999) (recto)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), December 15, 1998 to February 28, 1999
25 Years, 52 Drawings (January 20 to February 5, 2005) (recto)
  • Kate Ganz USA Ltd. (New York), January 20 to February 5, 2005