Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Head of a Man in Profile

Luca Signorelli (Luca d'Egidio di Luca di Ventura) (Italian, Cortona, active by 1470–died 1523 Cortona)
Black chalk, pen and brown ink, heightened with white.
11 3/4 x 9 5/8 in. (29.9 x 24.4 cm)
Credit Line:
Robert Lehman Collection, 1975
Accession Number:
Not on view
This sheet is a significant example of the scientific study of perspective in the fifteenth century. It represents an exercise in foreshortening the human head, through which the profile could be used to construct alternative views. The horizontal lines – incised with a stylus - and the letters annotated around the ear served as coordinate points to produce such a transformation, while the pricked outlines aided in the replication of the profile. This diagram closely follows the method of foreshortening described in a treatise on perspective written by Signorelli’s master, Piero della Francesca.
Inscription: Inscribed in pen and brown ink around the ear: p o v x j (upside down)
[Richard Erdheimer, New York]. Acquired by Robert Lehman in 1932 (?).
Carmen C. Bambach. Drawing and Painting in the Italian Renaissance Workshop: Theory and Practice, 1300–1600. Cambridge, 1999, pp. 231, 233-235, nos. 207-208.

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