A Boy Holding a Pear
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Giovanni Battista Piazzetta
Italian, Italy, about 1740
Black and white chalk on blue-gray paper
15 7/16 x 12 3/16 in.

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A chubby-faced young boy stares out at us, as he holds up a small pear in his left hand. The youth is probably the artist's son Giacomo Piazzetta, drawn when he was about ten or eleven years old. He wears a dark cap decorated with a feather on his head, while an elaborately patterned vest covers a white shirt with wide, billowing sleeves and a lacy collar.

This captivating drawing shows Giovanni Battista Piazzetta's skill at capturing both his son's character and the different fabrics he wears. Softly smudged lines of dark hatching suggest the boy's rounded, fleshy cheeks, while touches of white chalk give shiny highlights to his nose, eyes, and chin. Piazzetta also managed to indicate the shimmering, silky texture of the boy's sleeve in contrast to the dark and velvety texture of his hat.