Study of the Head of a Young Woman

Drawing of the face of a young woman looking down

Study of the Head of a Young Woman, ca. 1523
Red chalk
8 9/16 x 6 11/16 in. (21.7 x 17 cm)
Galleria degli Uffizi, Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe, Florence
Courtesy the Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo

Drawn from life when Andrea and his family fled Florence's plague for a monastery in the Mugello, this study for the Luco Pietà (an altarpiece now at the Palazzo Pitti, Florence, that he produced for the nuns who hosted him) prepares the head of Mary Magdalene. Her downcast eyes communicate her repentance as a reformed prostitute and her lament over the dead Christ, whose body she looks upon in the painting. Delicate strokes of chalk render the falling hair that had dried the feet of Christ after she washed them with her tears.

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