Artist: Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (Italian, Venice 1696–1770 Madrid)
Date: 18th century
Medium: Red chalk, highlighted with white chalk, on blue-gray paper
Dimensions: Sheet: 10 3/8 x 7 1/2 in. (26.4 x 19 cm)
Credit Line: From the Collection of Rita and Frits Markus, Bequest of Rita Markus, 2005
Accession Number: 2005.330.7
While Giovanni Battista Tiepolo is most famous for the exceptional spontaneity of his quick sketches in pen and ink with wash, he was also a brilliant deliberate draftsman, with subtle powers of description, as demonstrated by his rarer chalk drawings. His life studies, in particular, seem to convey the psychological depths of his models through their animated physical gestures and closely observed, naturalistic details. This fresh, beautifully preserved study of a young boy's head is an example of the artist's mature work in a medium he began using in 1740-43: red chalk on blue-gray paper. It is exactly comparable in technique, style, and scale to two securely autograph sheets (Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin) from the mid-1750s, which were preparatory for his famous altarpiece compositions of the Martyrdom of Saint Agatha.