Federico Barocci (Italian, ca. 15351612)
Brush and oil paint on paper; 15 3/8 x 10 13/16 in. (39.1 x 27.4 cm)
Harry G. Sperling Fund, 1976 (1976.87.2)
Barocci was among the pioneers of the oil sketch in Italy. This dazzling full-scale study in color was preparatory for the figure of Saint Elizabeth in his famous Visitation altarpiece (Santa Maria in Vallicella, "Chiesa Nuova," Rome), painted between 1584 and 1586. In the final work, the saint's head would become more idealized and serene of feature, and the technique of execution much less sketchy. Barocci was an indefatigable and stunningly fluent draftsman. For the Visitation altarpiece, he prepared also a great number of small-scale composition sketches and detailed figure studies based on the live model, as well as an imposing cartoon (full-scale drawing) in charcoal.