Giovanni Battista Piazzetta

Giovanni Battista Piazzetta (1683–1754)
The Head of a Boy and of an Old Man
c. 1739–40
Black chalk heightened with white chalk, on gray paper
Samuel Courtauld Trust: Witt Bequest, 1952

This close-up view of a bearded magus and a young man reading is an example of the "character head" — a type of independent drawing pioneered by Piazzetta and prized by his early eighteenth-century collectors. The artist has aligned the boy's focused gaze with the man's pointing finger as it presses emphatically on the page.