Study of the Virgin (recto); Study of the Virgin and of Hands (verso)
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Vittore Carpaccio
Italian, about 1505
Brush and brown wash, black chalk, heightened with white bodycolor on faded blue paper
9 7/8 x 7 3/8 in.

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In this simple study of the Virgin Mary kneeling in prayer, Vittore Carpaccio concentrated on the simple lines of her headdress and the crisp folds of her robe. With a brush and a painterly approach, he applied a rich brown wash to her form, with dark lines outlining the body and parallel hatching to give texture. Carpaccio then added strokes of white bodycolor to create brilliant effects of light hitting the surface of the fabric. He produced the drawing as a preparatory study for a painting.

The verso contains a variety of sketches that Carpaccio probably produced ten to fifteen years later. In the main image, the Virgin gazes down in prayer, with her disembodied clasped hands placed directly below her. Another study of a hand holding a quill pen projects from the lower left edge.

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Verso: Studies, Virgin & Hands
Verso: Studies, Virgin & Hands