Head of a Woman in Profile

graphite drawing of a woman's head in profile, with hair pulled up

Head of a Woman in Profile, ca. 1830s
Graphite on paper
20.6 x 15.8 cm 
Estate stamp, lower left
The Cleveland Museum of Art; Gift of the Painting and Drawing Society of The Cleveland Museum of Art (2000.40)

Cat. 3

This sensitive rendering is an amalgam of classicism and closely observed nature. Delicate hatching indicates the contours of the face, with a subtle emphasis on the outline of the profile — particularly the bridge of the nose and the slightly parted lips. This contrasts with the boldly marked strokes of the sitter’s hair, with its upward serpentine swirl continued by the curve of the hair comb. David valued profile views for their ability to quickly and accurately describe an individual. “The profile,” he wrote, “is unity.”

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