Study of a Kneeling Figure with a Sketch of a Face (recto); Figure Study and Face (verso)

Object Details

Title:

Study of a Kneeling Figure with a Sketch of a Face (recto); Figure Study and Face (verso)

Artist/Maker(s):

Andrea del Sarto (Italian, 1486 - 1530)

Culture:

Italian

Date:

1522 - 1526

Medium:

Red and black chalk (recto) ; red chalk (verso)

Dimensions:

30.1 x 19.8 cm (11 13/16 x 7 13/16 in.)

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Andrea del Sarto made these drawings as studies for figures in an unfinished painting in the Palazzo Pitti in Florence. On the recto, with strong, sure strokes, he worked out the musculature of the kneeling apostle who appears in the painting's left foreground. On the verso, the standing nude figure with drapery provides the pose for Saint Thomas. Of the two heads later crossed out by the artist, the one at the upper right resembles the apostle on the recto. Del Sarto used these poses again in other paintings.

Del Sarto's working process of making a series of preparatory drawings for each of his paintings became a model for other artists of the 1500s. He began by quickly jotting down a first idea, then, as in the kneeling figure on the recto, he made studies of individual figures, checking them against a live model. He also used sculpture as a source. Del Sarto then developed the initial composition into a sequence of studies drawn in rapid, soft strokes of black or red chalk, which led to the final version for the painting. The final cartoon was transferred to the wall or panel.

Provenance

Madame Jacqueline Strölin, Lausanne, and Bruno de Bayser [sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1984]

Exhibitions
Red Chalk Drawings (March 16 to May 30, 1999) (recto)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), March 16 to May 30, 1999
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
Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and the Renaissance in Florence (May 27 to September 5, 2005) (recto)
  • National Gallery of Canada, (Ottawa), May 27 to September 5, 2005
The Secret Life of Drawings (November 23, 2010 to February 13, 2011) (recto)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), November 23, 2010 to February 13, 2011
Andrea del Sarto: The Renaissance Workshop in Action (June 23, 2015 to January 10, 2016) (cat. 26; recto)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), June 23 to September 13, 2015
  • The Frick Collection, (New York), October 6, 2015 to January 10, 2016