Past Exhibition

A Skull and Thigh Bone

Drawing of a skull and bone

A Skull and Thigh Bone, 1522–26
Red chalk
7 13/16 x 9 3/4 in. (19.8 x 24.7 cm)
The British Museum; bequeathed by William Fawkener, 1769
Verso | See Recto
© The Trustees of the British Museum

In sharp contrast to the playful youth on the opposite side of this sheet, this drawing — whose powerful schematic quality mirrors the finality of its subject — prepares a decoration for a tomb. Whether the skull and bone or the children were drawn first is unknown. In Andrea’s workshop, as in any other, paper was valuable, and artists frequently used both sides.