Studies of Heads (recto); Studies of a Male Figure (verso)
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Hans Baldung Grien
German, Germany, about 1512 - 1513
Pen and black ink

4 7/8 x 6 3/4 in.

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As he practiced drawing different heads for use in later paintings and prints, Hans Baldung Grien created a pattern unified by abstract hatching. The facing heads represent three distinct facial types: a young woman with long flowing hair and a crown, a bearded man in the top left, and a young man looking upward at the bottom right.

By contrast, the six faces clustered in groups of two and four near the upper center of the sheet resemble physiognomic studies, or variations on distinctive profiles. Baldung Grien recorded various hooked, straight, and curving noses combined with rounded, pointed, and sloping or non-existent chins. The artist used light, flowing strokes to outline most of the faces and dark, broader accents to emphasize the eyes, noses, and mouths.

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Verso: Studies of Male Figure
Verso: Studies of Male Figure