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.