Lower Level North Gallery

 
  • Drawing of the Madonna and child enthroned with four saints

    The Madonna and Child with Four Saints, ca. 1509
    Brown wash and white heightening over traces of black chalk, on gray-prepared paper
    11 1/2 x 9 3/4 in. (29.2 x 24.8 cm)
    Musée du Louvre, Paris, Département des Arts Graphiques

    Probably the earliest sheet in the exhibition, this is the only drawing on display executed in a medium other than chalk. While no related painting is known, its refinement and minor adjustments — such as the change to the tilt of St. Gregory's head (left of the Virgin) — suggest it is close to a final composition. Parts of the design seem to have been transferred to another surface: pricking (a method in which tiny holes are made to allow carbon dust through the paper) appears along the contours of several figures and the architecture.

  • Drawing of the Adoration of the Magi in a landscape

    The Adoration of the Magi, ca. 1511
    Red chalk
    14 7/16 x 12 3/16 in. (36.6 x 30.9 cm)
    Galleria degli Uffizi, Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe, Florence
    Courtesy the Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo

    In the foreground, the three Magi and their attendants pay respect to the Virgin and Child, seated at right beneath the architectural structure. As emphasized by the stick figures drawn on the mountain, the purpose of this sheet was to establish the placement of figures and objects in the landscape. Despite the looseness of the drawing, which has not been connected to a painting, there is not a single pentimento. It may be a freehand copy after another composition.

  • Drawing of a woman seated in a chair and holding a book

    Study of a Woman, ca. 1517–25
    Red chalk
    9 1/2 x 7 15/16 in. (24.2 x 20.1 cm)
    Galleria degli Uffizi, Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe, Florence
    Recto
    Courtesy the Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo

    Lauded as one of Andrea's most beautiful drawings, this study of a seated woman holding a book features soft handling of chalk at her face that is markedly different from the bold strokes demarcating her costume and hands, which are almost schematic. Blocks of shadow and framing lines visible on three sides show the artist working out the composition of a portrait. The drawing has been identified as a portrait of the artist's wife, relating to a fragmentary portrait in Berlin cropped above her voluminous sleeves.

  • Drawing of the Madonna with the Christ child on her lap and the young St. John the Baptist

    The Madonna and Child with St. John, ca. 1516–17
    Red chalk
    12 3/8 x 9 3/16 in. (31.5 x 23.3 cm)
    Galleria degli Uffizi, Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe, Florence
    Courtesy the Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo

    This sheet establishes almost exactly the composition of a painting of the same title now at the Galleria Borghese in Rome. The twisting Christ child (whose muscularity recalls Michelangelo's figures) demonstrates Andrea's mastery of complex poses and emphasizes the connection between mother and child, as Christ turns to meet Mary's gaze. The character of the young Baptist remains unresolved. His muddled face, containing pentimenti showing him facing in various directions, contrasts with the clarity of passages like the Virgin's hand reaching toward her breast.

  • Drawing of arms, hands, and legs

    Studies of Arms, Legs, Hands, and Drapery, ca. 1522
    Red and black chalk
    10 3/16 x 7 15/16 in. (25.8 x 20.2 cm)
    Galleria degli Uffizi, Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe, Florence
    Recto
    Courtesy the Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo

    Andrea focuses here on specific details of the same figure that is in his Study of a Kneeling Figure in Profile to the Left. He begins in red chalk with the left arm and rolled sleeve, experiments with foreshortening in the legs, and then uses black chalk (perhaps to signal a next stage in his design process) to compose further studies of arms and hands. Curiously, he produced these black chalk studies facing in both directions.

  • Drawing of a child's face

    Studies of the Head of an Infant, ca. 1522
    Red chalk
    9 3/4 x 7 1/4 in. (24.8 x 18.4 cm)
    Galleria degli Uffizi, Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe, Florence
    Recto
    Courtesy the Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo

    This head study prepares the face of the Christ child at the center of The Madonna of the Steps and features a subsidiary drawing focused on his slightly more puckered lips. The child's smooth flesh and rosy, plump cheeks are achieved by stumping (rubbing with an instrument) and applying a wetted brush over chalk hatching.

  • Drawing of drapery on a kneeling figure

    Drapery Study, ca. 1522
    Black chalk
    6 1/2 x 6 3/8 in. (16.5 x 16.2 cm)
    Galleria degli Uffizi, Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe, Florence
    Recto
    Courtesy the Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo

    In preparing the figure of the kneeling Virgin in The Madonna of the Steps, Andrea uses a combination of short and long hatching lines to render the folds and fall of garments as they bunch around the lower body and tumble forward and down the steps. The blank vertical field just left of the knee is a placeholder for the leg of the Christ child, which occupies this spot in the painting.

  • Drawing of a child standing with arms extended to the right

    Study of a Child with Arms Extended, ca. 1522
    Red chalk
    9 13/16 x 6 5/16 in. (25 x 16.1 cm)
    Galleria degli Uffizi, Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe, Florence
    Courtesy the Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo

    Firm contours establish the pose of the infant Christ in The Madonna of the Steps. A second sketch concentrates on rendering a fuller, softer belly. The handwriting in ink bleeding through from the paper's other side — impossible to read because the sheet is laid down — underscores the function of these sheets as workshop material.

  • Drawing of a young man's face looking to the left

    Head of a Youth in Profile, ca. 1522
    Red chalk
    8 1/4 x 5 1/8 in. (21 x 13 cm)
    The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford; bequeathed by Dr. Gerhard Weiler, 1995
    © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

    This sheet relates to the head of the angel in The Madonna of the Steps. Several strokes of chalk explore the curve of the figure's chin and bump of his Adam's apple as he extends his neck to look upward and slightly to his right, with parted lips. The drawing represents the particular challenge of creating an expressive profile in a figure turned away from the viewer.

  • Drawing of a kneeling figure in profile to the left with a separate study of his arm

    Study of a Kneeling Figure in Profile to the Left, ca. 1522
    Red chalk
    10 7/16 x 7 7/8 in. (26.5 x 20 cm)
    Galleria degli Uffizi, Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe, Florence
    Recto
    Courtesy the Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo

    Drawn from a live model (probably one of his garzoni), this sheet prepares the angel at right in The Madonna of the Steps. The mostly nude figure is clothed in the painting with his sleeve rolled into a large bunch at his elbow, and this is anticipated by the study of an arm with a cuffed sleeve. Effects of light and shadow on his muscular back are achieved through rubbing and wetting the chalk, and in quick strokes Andrea renders the figure's right hand resting atop a sack, a stand-in for the lamb that Andrea initially planned for the angel's attribute.

  • Drawing of two male figures leaning on a balustrade wearing drapery

    Study of Figures behind a Balustrade, ca. 1522
    Red chalk
    6 7/8 x 7 7/8 in. (17.5 x 20 cm)
    The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
    Recto

    Studying two draped male figures in separate frames and at slightly different scales, the artist may have produced this sheet (which features two similar figures on the verso) as an early design of the four Evangelists for an embroidered altar frontal (Museo Diocesano, Cortona). He explores poses engaged with the balustrade and experiments with bending limbs and twisting torsos. Andrea's sketch of the figure at right facing in several directions conveys an almost animated effect.

  • Drawing of a half-length male figure with his right arm slightly raised

    Study of a Young Man, 1523
    Black chalk
    5 5/8 x 3 13/16 in. (14.3 x 9.7 cm)
    The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

    This sheet presents a young man almost exactly as he appears in The Feast of Herod, Andrea's fresco in Florence's Chiostro dello Scalzo. He is a servant who recoils at the appearance of Salomé with the head of John the Baptist on a platter. Here, only his raised hand gives any indication of the drama as his face is neutral, unlike the shocked expression in the painting.

  • Drawing of the Madonna with the dead Christ on the ground and two saints on either side

    Composition Study for a Pietà, ca. 1524
    Red chalk over traces of black chalk
    6 15/16 x 6 1/16 in. (17.7 x 15.4 cm)
    Musée du Louvre, Paris, Département des Arts Graphiques

    Like the Composition Study of the Madonna and Child with Saints, this intimate study probably prepares a monumental painting. Its singularity lies in its precise and expressive articulation of the human body. With few pentimenti (due in part to the traces of black chalk that initially mapped out the composition), Andrea establishes the knotted anatomy of the dead Christ's torso, the dramatic slump of the saint on the right, and, at left, the head of the Baptist bowed so deeply as to almost obscure his features.

  • Multiple sketches of a composition of the Madonna with the Christ child and angels

    Five Studies for a Lunette with the Virgin and Child, ca. 1525
    Red chalk
    11 3/8 x 10 1/4 in. (28.9 x 26.1 cm)
    The British Museum; donated by John Postle Heseltine, 1912
    © The Trustees of the British Museum

    These five studies for The Madonna of the Sack lunette in SS. Annunziata in Florence (one of Andrea's best known and lauded works) provide rare insight into the early stages of the artist's creative process. Moving quickly across the sheet, perhaps only in a matter of minutes, Andrea explores different arrangements of the Virgin and Child, from the Virgin standing, at top left, to sitting and nursing the Christ child at bottom right. His diverse handling of chalk — including faint strokes and reworked, stressed contours — echoes his experimental approach to the composition.

  • Drawing of a scene of the birth of St. John the Baptist in a bedroom

    Composition Study for the Birth of St. John the Baptist, ca. 1526
    Red chalk
    6 7/16 x 8 11/16 in. (16.4 x 22.1 cm)
    The British Museum; bequeathed by Sir Hans Sloane, 1753
    © The Trustees of the British Museum

    Centered on the nurse presenting the newborn to his mother, this drawing prepares a scene in Andrea's fresco cycle of the life of the Baptist in the Chiostro dello Scalzo, Florence. The only surviving compositional study from this important commission, it experiments with depicting the moment when the father, Zacharias (at right), struck mute from disbelief at the prophecy of John's birth, miraculously regains his voice after writing, "His name is John" on a tablet. Andrea sketches the figures nude, a standard Renaissance convention, providing faint outlines of the drapery in which the painted figures will be clothed.

  • Drawing of a composition of the Madonna and child surrounded by kneeling and standing saints

    Composition Study of the Madonna and Child with Saints, ca. 1528
    Red chalk
    6 1/8 x 5 5/16 in. (15.6 x 13.5 cm)
    Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett
    Recto
    bpk, Berlin / Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen, Berlin, Germany / Photo: Volker-H. Schneider / Art Resource, NY

    With quick strokes and remarkable economy of line, Andrea worked out the complex configuration of ten figures on this small sheet, a study for the Sarzana altarpiece, formerly in Berlin (destroyed during World War II). Scribbles describe details like St. Onophrius's loincloth of leaves (at far left) while a series of ovals marks his consideration of the head of the Christ child (at center). Swift lines falling from the Virgin's head emphasize her as the apex of a pyramidal figural composition, a Renaissance convention.

  • Drawing of a standing man looking over his left shoulder with left arm akimbo

    Study of a Standing Figure, ca. 1529
    Black chalk
    11 x 5 1/8 in. (27.9 x 13 cm)
    Galleria degli Uffizi, Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe, Florence
    Courtesy the Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo

    The theatrical pose of this full-length figure almost exactly matches (but in reverse) that of St. Michael in Andrea's altarpiece for the abbey of Vallombrosa (Uffizi, Florence). While the painted saint wears all'antica armor, here the figure dons clothing typical of the 1520s, including a plumed headdress. After studying the figure (probably a studio assistant), Andrea reconsidered the composition: framing lines transform it into a design for a half-length figure, perhaps a portrait.

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