Seated Figure (recto); Reclining Figure (verso)

Object Details


Seated Figure (recto); Reclining Figure (verso)


Pontormo (Jacopo Carucci) (Italian (Florentine), 1494 - 1557)




Italy (Place created)




Red chalk with some stumping


29.4 × 20 cm (11 9/16 × 7 7/8 in.)

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Pontormo sketched both the recto and verso figures from a nude male model, probably in his studio. He probably made the studies in preparation for a fresco he painted at a Medici villa outside Florence from 1520 to 1521. After conceiving of the composition of the fresco as a whole, he tried out individual figures. He may have used and reused aspects of the pose of this body for several of the fresco's figures.

Biographer Giorgio Vasari wrote that Pontormo almost obsessively revised his ideas for this fresco; his many known drawings for the project attest to the search for perfection. In the foot and calf of this figure in particular, Pontormo approached the paper repeatedly, imparting almost nervous energy as he refined the lines. On the verso, the smooth outlines of the reclining figure skillfully match the relaxation and refinement of the pose itself. Pontormo ultimately transformed this figure's pose into that of a female attendant in the fresco.


Private Collection

From Studio to Studiolo: Florentine Draftsmanship under the First Medici Grand Dukes (October 14 to December 1, 1991) (recto)
  • The Allen Memorial Art Museum (Oberlin), October 14 to December 1, 1991
The Power of Myth: European Mythological Drawings of the 15th through the 19th Century (October 12 to December 26, 1993)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), October 12 to December 26, 1993
Michelangelo to Vasari: Drawing the Figure in Renaissance Florence (July 15 to October 19, 2003) (recto)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), July 15 to October 19, 2003
Disegno: Drawing in Europe 1520-1600 (November 13, 2012 to February 3, 2013) (recto)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), November 13, 2012 to February 3, 2013