Standing Youth with Hands Behind His Back, and a Seated Youth Reading (recto); Two Studies of Hands (verso)

Artist: Filippino Lippi (Italian, Prato ca. 1457–1504 Florence)

Date: 1457/58–1504

Medium: Metalpoint, highlighted with white gouache, on pink prepared paper (recto); metalpoint, on pink prepared paper (verso)

Dimensions: sheet: 9 5/8 x 8 1/2 in. (24.5 x 21.6 cm)

Classification: Drawings

Credit Line: Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1936

Accession Number: 36.101.1


This sheet of figure studies illustrates Filippino Lippi’s virtuosity as a draftsman. His handling of the challenging technique of metalpoint is precise and descriptive. The lean, muscular male nude at left was conceived as preparatory study for either a Saint Sebastian or for Christ in a Flagellation scene. The study at right of a seated young man reading a book is probably of a workshop assistant posing as a model. The two faded studies of hands on the verso are of weaker execution than the figures on the recto. Extremely rare in Filippino's oeuvre for their large scale, they are in a style that dates no later than his Lucchese period, 1482-83, as exemplified by his Magrini altarpiece in Lucca.
(Carmen C. Bambach, 1997, revised 2014)