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Studies of a Statuette of Atlas and a Figure Praying
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Jacopo Tintoretto
Italian, 1549
Black chalk with white chalk highlights
10 x 15 7/16 in.
89.GB.72

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Jacopo Tintoretto covered both the recto and verso of this sheet with four animated copies of the same bronze statuette of Atlas. Each sketch shows Atlas from the same tilted angle, in a contrapposto stance with his right foot slightly raised and his head twisted to look under his bent left arm. Each figure sits at a sharp diagonal angle, as though it had been twisted and compressed within the confines of the page and was trying to break free. Atlas's contorted position increases the overall sense of energy and muscular strength. Although each figure's position remains nearly the same, Tintoretto subtly varied the surface shading throughout. Delicate lines of parallel hatching emphasize the rippling, bumpy muscles that cover Atlas's arms, legs, and chest.

Tintoretto and his workshop made at least fifteen drawings based on the statuette. The stock figure appears in a number of his paintings.


Other Views

Verso: Studies of Statuette
Verso: Studies of Statuette