Study of Jealousy
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Agnolo Bronzino
Italian, about 1545
Black chalk
6 3/8 x 4 11/16 in.

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With head tilted downwards, an anguished, bare-chested figure grips his skull with his two hands. The splayed fingers and muscular arm are the true subject, with only the sketchiest indication of the facial features and torso. Black chalk lines skillfully render the anatomical structure of the arm and fingers; and careful shading emphasizes taut flesh, joints, and fingernails. Despite his precise draftsmanship, Agnolo Bronzino left pentimenti, evidence of rethinking, along the elbow and inner side of the right arm in the study.

Bronzino made this drawing as a study of the figure who personifies Jealousy in his painting of Allegory of Venus and Cupid. To accurately represent the anguished pose, the artist drew from a studio model, precisely positioning the model's hands and arms. An X-ray of the painting shows that he first painted the hands higher and more horizontally across the head; he then probably worked out the position in this drawing and returned to rework the painting.

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