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Past Exhibition

Study for the Head of St. Joseph

Drawing of the head of an old man looking down

Study for the Head of St. Joseph, ca. 1526–27
Red and black chalk
14 11/16 x 8 11/16 in. (37.3 x 22 cm)
Private Collection

Andrea uses squiggles of black chalk to render the weathered face of his model for the sleeping St. Joseph in the Bracci Holy Family (Palazzo Pitti, Florence). The study almost certainly follows a design for the overall composition, for Andrea leaves unarticulated the lower section of the face, which in the painting is blocked from view by his arm. The red chalk may have been added by a later hand; only this sheet and the Head of a Man Looking Up feature the atypical combination of chalks in a single figure.