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Study of a Kneeling Figure with a Sketch of a Face Figure Study and Face

Andrea Del Sarto , 1522–26 , Italy

THE RECTO OF THIS SHEET WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN1959 by Shearman, who correctly identified the kneeling figure as a study for the apostle in the left foreground of the Panciatichi Assumption (Florence, Palazzo Pitti). Thepose derives from Sarto’s kneeling Saint Sebastian in theDisputa (circa 1518; Florence, Pitti) and the related drawing in the UfRzi (inv. 6918 F; Shearman 1965, vol. i, pis.66a, b). It was used again later in the Passerini Assumption in the Pitti. This appears to be an instance in which Sarto altered and developed an idea first conceived in relation to the earlier Panciatichi Assumption. The brief sketch of a face on the recto may have been made in relation to oneof the apostles in that painting, but is not clearly the model for any of them. The verso has never been published. The principal image of the standing nude figure with drapery is a study for the Saint Thomas in the Panciatichi Assumption and was employed later for the same saint in the Passerini Assumption. In fact the raised left arm is closer to the corresponding detail of the later painting. Contiguous to the figure is a form that appears to be bunched drapery. In addition there are two male heads, later crossed out bythe artist. The one at the upper right bears some resem-blance to the apostle for which the recto was drawn.Based on Shearman’s accurate dating of the Panciatichi Assumption, the drawing should be placed in 1522-1523. It is stylistically in accord with other drawings of this period, including several for the same project, though itshows a somewhat greater than usual concern for the monumental rendering of muscular structure.

  • Andrea Del Sarto
  • Painting
  • FacevRed chalk, black chalk sketch efface (recto); red chalk(verso); sheet torn horizontally and repaired
  • 30.1 x 19.8 cm
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

J. Shearman, "Andrea del Sarto's TwoPaintings of the Assumption," Burlington Magazine 101,no. 673 (April 1959), p. 129; B. Berenson, Idisegnideipit-tor ifi or entini (Milan, 1961), vol. 2, p. 34, no. 161 A-I; S. J.Freedberg, Andrea del Sarto (Cambridge, Mass., 1963),vol. i, p. 118; R. Monti, Andrea del Sarto (Milan, 1965),p. 170; J. Shearman, Andrea del Sarto (Oxford, 1965), vol.2, p. 386; A. Petrioli Tofani, in M. Chiarini et al., Andreadel Sarto 1486-1530, exh. cat., Palazzo Pitti, Florence,1986, pp. 188; 267, under no. 56.

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