Head of a Bearded Man

Artist: Anonymous, Bohemian, 14th century

Date: 1360–80

Medium: Pen and gray-brown ink, brush with gray-black and brown wash, traces of white gouache highlights.

Dimensions: Sheet: 4 7/16 x 3 3/8 in. (11.3 x 8.5 cm)

Classification: Drawings

Credit Line: Purchase, Gift of Dr. Mortimer D. Sackler, Theresa Sackler and Family, 2003

Accession Number: 2003.29


This fine drawing was made in all likelihood just after 1350 in Bohemia. The ponderous visage, with flowing beard and full features, is close to images in panel and mural painting created in that area during the reign of Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV, especially in the decades following his coronation in Rome in 1355. With remarkable contrasts of light and shadow, subtle highlighting in the beard, and delicate brushstrokes at the brow, the drawing is one of the most beautiful among Bohemian examples, which form an important part of the limited corpus of drawings from the second half of the fourteenth century.