Composition Study for a Pietà

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.

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