Past Exhibition

Complete Checklist

 
  • Drawing of the Madonna and child enthroned with four saints

    The Madonna and Child with Four Saints, ca. 1509
    Brown wash and white heightening over traces of black chalk, on gray-prepared paper
    11 1/2 x 9 3/4 in. (29.2 x 24.8 cm)
    Musée du Louvre, Paris, Département des Arts Graphiques

    Probably the earliest sheet in the exhibition, this is the only drawing on display executed in a medium other than chalk. While no related painting is known, its refinement and minor adjustments — such as the change to the tilt of St. Gregory's head (left of the Virgin) — suggest it is close to a final composition. Parts of the design seem to have been transferred to another surface: pricking (a method in which tiny holes are made to allow carbon dust through the paper) appears along the contours of several figures and the architecture.

  • Drawing of a child's head in profile and a hand

    Studies of a Head and a Hand, 1510
    Red chalk
    The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Rogers Fund, 1996
    5 9/16 x 8 1/16 in. (14.2 x 20.5 cm)
    © The Metropolitan Museum of Art, courtesy Art Resource, NY

    Among Andrea's earliest surviving drawings, this sheet relates to the Healing of the Relics of San Filippo Benizi fresco at SS. Annunziata. Parallel hatching models the face, and similar handling renders a hand holding a rope or other slim object, with zigzags of chalk blocking in areas of shadow. The seemingly random marks behind the child's ear indicate the spot in the painting where the mother cradles the child's head with her hand. Though the child seems to gaze at the hand in the drawing, the two details appear at opposite sides of the fresco.

  • Drawing of the Adoration of the Magi in a landscape

    The Adoration of the Magi, ca. 1511
    Red chalk
    14 7/16 x 12 3/16 in. (36.6 x 30.9 cm)
    Galleria degli Uffizi, Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe, Florence
    Courtesy the Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo

    In the foreground, the three Magi and their attendants pay respect to the Virgin and Child, seated at right beneath the architectural structure. As emphasized by the stick figures drawn on the mountain, the purpose of this sheet was to establish the placement of figures and objects in the landscape. Despite the looseness of the drawing, which has not been connected to a painting, there is not a single pentimento. It may be a freehand copy after another composition.

  • Drawing of a man's head in profile looking up and to the right

    Head of Leonardo di Lorenzo Morelli, 1512
    Black chalk
    12 3/8 x 9 5/8 in. (31.5 x 24.5 cm)
    Fondation Custodia, Collection Frits Lugt, Paris
    Recto

    Andrea studied Morelli from life to prepare his portrait in the altarpiece the silk merchant commissioned of the Archangel Raphael, Tobias, and St. Leonard (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna). Lavishing attention on the sitter's elegant profile, the artist manipulates chalk and reserves of paper to invoke his full lips, cheekbones, and light-colored eye as he looks up at the divine.

  • Drawing of a standing young man holding a book

    Study of a Standing Young Man Holding a Book, ca. 1515
    Black chalk
    14 5/8 x 6 3/8 in. (37.1 x 16.2 cm)
    Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett
    bpk, Berlin / Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen, Berlin, Germany / Photo: Volker-H. Schneider / Art Resource, NY

    A studio assistant posing with a book serves as a model for the bearded St. Ambrose in Andrea's Madonna of St. Ambrose (private collection). He wears a tunic with rolled up sleeves, and his youthful face looks up and to the left, where in the painting the Virgin and Child are seated. Strong impressions of black chalk record the crumpled folds of his sleeves above his elbows and his robust forearms, even though in the painting the bishop's robes cover these features and mask the carefully observed distribution of weight and balance in the garzone's legs.

  • Drawing of the Madonna with the Christ child on her lap and the young St. John the Baptist

    The Madonna and Child with St. John, ca. 1516–17
    Red chalk
    12 3/8 x 9 3/16 in. (31.5 x 23.3 cm)
    Galleria degli Uffizi, Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe, Florence
    Courtesy the Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo

    This sheet establishes almost exactly the composition of a painting of the same title now at the Galleria Borghese in Rome. The twisting Christ child (whose muscularity recalls Michelangelo's figures) demonstrates Andrea's mastery of complex poses and emphasizes the connection between mother and child, as Christ turns to meet Mary's gaze. The character of the young Baptist remains unresolved. His muddled face, containing pentimenti showing him facing in various directions, contrasts with the clarity of passages like the Virgin's hand reaching toward her breast.

  • Drawing of a woman seated in a chair and holding a book

    Study of a Woman, ca. 1517–25
    Red chalk
    9 1/2 x 7 15/16 in. (24.2 x 20.1 cm)
    Galleria degli Uffizi, Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe, Florence
    Recto
    Courtesy the Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo

    Lauded as one of Andrea's most beautiful drawings, this study of a seated woman holding a book features soft handling of chalk at her face that is markedly different from the bold strokes demarcating her costume and hands, which are almost schematic. Blocks of shadow and framing lines visible on three sides show the artist working out the composition of a portrait. The drawing has been identified as a portrait of the artist's wife, relating to a fragmentary portrait in Berlin cropped above her voluminous sleeves.

  • Painting of a seated man looking over his left shoulder and holding a book

    Portrait of a Young Man, ca. 1517–18
    Oil on canvas
    28 1/2 x 22 1/2 in. (72.4 x 57.2 cm)
    The National Gallery, London; bought, 1862
    © The National Gallery, London

    Although this work was long believed to be a self-portrait, the sitter's identity remains uncertain. Scholars have debated the object he holds as the key to his identity, suggesting it is a block of clay or marble (possibly indicating a sculptor), a brick, or a book. Related drawings (Study of a Young Man and Study of a Young Man) show the sitter holding the latter. A common attribute for Renaissance sitters with intellectual and humanist interests, the book may not bring us any closer to who he is. Andrea declares his own identity as the portrait's creator: at left, he includes his monogram, two interlocking As for Andrea d'Agnolo.

  • Drawing of the face of a woman

    Head of a Young Woman, ca. 1517
    Black chalk
    10 1/8 x 8 1/16 in. (25.7 x 20.5 cm)
    Fondation Custodia, Collection Frits Lugt, Paris

    Traditionally identified as a drawing of Andrea's wife, Lucrezia, this study may also have prepared the face of the Virgin in his most famous altarpiece, The Madonna of the Harpies (Uffizi, Florence). He studies intently the light that glows under the tip of her nose, her top lip, and the curve of her chin. In some places, the chalk is applied lightly enough to reveal the paper's texture. Like his studio assistants, Lucrezia would have served as a ready model for Andrea's compositions.

  • Drawing of drapery

    Drapery Study, ca. 1517
    Red chalk
    11 x 6 in. (27.9 x 15.2 cm)
    The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
    Recto

    Complementing Andrea's nude figure studies, this drawing captures the volume and folds of a garment as it was probably draped on a garzone or lay figure (jointed wood mannequin) in the studio. It is related to figures in two works dated about five years apart: the Arrest of the Baptist fresco at the Chiostro dello Scalzo and a Transfiguration scene embroidered on an ecclesiastical vestment (Museo Diocesano, Cortona).

  • Drawing of a seated man resting his arm on an upright book and looking over his left shoulder

    Study of a Young Man, ca. 1517–18
    Red chalk
    7 3/8 x 4 9/16 in. (18.8 x 11.6 cm)
    Galleria degli Uffizi, Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe, Florence
    Recto
    Courtesy the Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo

    The drawings on the recto and verso of this sheet and another of the same title trace Andrea's development of the twisting figure, which reaches its fullest expression in his Portrait of a Young Man. Here, he experimented with the figure looking over his shoulder to the right, resting his elbow on an upright book.

  • Drawing of a man looking over his left shoulder

    Study of a Young Man, ca. 1517–18
    Red chalk
    5 1/8 x 4 15/16 in. (13 x 12.6 cm)
    Galleria degli Uffizi, Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe, Florence
    Verso
    Courtesy the Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo

    In this drawing, Andrea seems to rotate the subject of another Study of a Young Man to gaze directly at the viewer. He captures the intensity of his gaze with a firm impression of chalk representing the left eye, establishing the impact of the painted sitter as he confronts the viewer with shadowed eyes.

  • Drawing of a man in profile to the left

    Study for the Head of Julius Caesar, ca. 1520
    Red chalk
    8 7/16 x 7 1/4 in. (21.5 x 18.4 cm)
    The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Partial and Promised
    Gift of Mr. and Mrs. David M. Tobey, 2008
    © The Metropolitan Museum of Art, courtesy Art Resource, NY

    This drawing prepares the eloquent classical profile of the central figure in Andrea's monumental fresco The Tribute to Caesar (Villa Medici, Poggio a Caiano). The artist exploits the effects of red chalk to produce crisp, saturated contours, subtle tones, and fine detail, resulting in one of the most impressive and refined drawings of his surviving corpus.

  • Drawing of a half-length young man with big sleeves and a separate drawing of an old man's face in profile to the right

    Study of the Head of an Old Man in Profile, ca. 1520
    Red chalk
    9 7/16 x 10 7/8 in. (23.9 x 27.7 cm)
    Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett
    Recto
    bpk, Berlin / Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen, Berlin, Germany / Photo: Volker-H. Schneider / Art Resource, NY

    Accompanying Andrea’s many drawings from live models are his studies after antique sculpture like that after the Laocoön and this sheet after a bust of Homer, which prepares a figure in The Tribute to Caesar. Infusing the head with the vivacity of a living being, Andrea retains a glimmer of reflected light under the eye that hints at the physical quality of his stone source. The drawing of the draped young man also prepares a figure in the Tribute, though the youthful face is probably that of a garzone and becomes a more mature character in the painting.

  • Drawing of a standing male nude figure looking to the left and a separate drawing of his head

    Study of a Nude Man Seen from Behind, Leaning on a Surface, and a Separate Study of His Head, ca. 1520
    Red chalk, with some black chalk
    11 x 6 15/16 in. (27.9 x 17.7 cm)
    The British Museum; bequeathed by William Fawkener, 1769
    Recto
    © The Trustees of the British Museum

    This sheet, probably studied from life after one of Andrea's garzoni, prepares one of almost two dozen figures in his monumental fresco The Tribute to Caesar. Strokes articulating his upper back are considerably more nuanced than the broader hatchings below. That he omits the left forearm and leaves the feet as stumps suggests that the drawing follows a full compositional design, for in the fresco these areas are not visible. The sketch at left explores putting a cap on the head, which the artist ultimately rejected.

  • three red chalk studies showing four partial figures of children and a left hand

    Studies of Children and of a Left Hand, 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
    Recto | See Verso
    © The Trustees of the British Museum

    These sketches of standing children prepare putti in the Assumption painted for the Panciatichi family. Andrea renders some parts of their plump figures thoroughly and leaves others unarticulated, allowing us to follow his changing focus as he studied the models. The left hand of an adult model at center seems out of place, but it may be a study for the hand of the rightmost child, perhaps reflecting recourse to a mature model when a child had difficulty holding the pose.

  • Drawing of a kneeling figure in profile to the left with a separate study of his arm

    Study of a Kneeling Figure in Profile to the Left, ca. 1522
    Red chalk
    10 7/16 x 7 7/8 in. (26.5 x 20 cm)
    Galleria degli Uffizi, Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe, Florence
    Recto
    Courtesy the Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo

    Drawn from a live model (probably one of his garzoni), this sheet prepares the angel at right in The Madonna of the Steps. The mostly nude figure is clothed in the painting with his sleeve rolled into a large bunch at his elbow, and this is anticipated by the study of an arm with a cuffed sleeve. Effects of light and shadow on his muscular back are achieved through rubbing and wetting the chalk, and in quick strokes Andrea renders the figure's right hand resting atop a sack, a stand-in for the lamb that Andrea initially planned for the angel's attribute.

  • Drawing of arms, hands, and legs

    Studies of Arms, Legs, Hands, and Drapery, ca. 1522
    Red and black chalk
    10 3/16 x 7 15/16 in. (25.8 x 20.2 cm)
    Galleria degli Uffizi, Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe, Florence
    Recto
    Courtesy the Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo

    Andrea focuses here on specific details of the same figure that is in his Study of a Kneeling Figure in Profile to the Left. He begins in red chalk with the left arm and rolled sleeve, experiments with foreshortening in the legs, and then uses black chalk (perhaps to signal a next stage in his design process) to compose further studies of arms and hands. Curiously, he produced these black chalk studies facing in both directions.

  • Drawing of a young man's face looking to the left

    Head of a Youth in Profile, ca. 1522
    Red chalk
    8 1/4 x 5 1/8 in. (21 x 13 cm)
    The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford; bequeathed by Dr. Gerhard Weiler, 1995
    © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

    This sheet relates to the head of the angel in The Madonna of the Steps. Several strokes of chalk explore the curve of the figure's chin and bump of his Adam's apple as he extends his neck to look upward and slightly to his right, with parted lips. The drawing represents the particular challenge of creating an expressive profile in a figure turned away from the viewer.

  • Drawing of two male figures leaning on a balustrade wearing drapery

    Study of Figures behind a Balustrade, ca. 1522
    Red chalk
    6 7/8 x 7 7/8 in. (17.5 x 20 cm)
    The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
    Recto

    Studying two draped male figures in separate frames and at slightly different scales, the artist may have produced this sheet (which features two similar figures on the verso) as an early design of the four Evangelists for an embroidered altar frontal (Museo Diocesano, Cortona). He explores poses engaged with the balustrade and experiments with bending limbs and twisting torsos. Andrea's sketch of the figure at right facing in several directions conveys an almost animated effect.

  • 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.

  • Drawing of a child standing with arms extended to the right

    Study of a Child with Arms Extended, ca. 1522
    Red chalk
    9 13/16 x 6 5/16 in. (25 x 16.1 cm)
    Galleria degli Uffizi, Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe, Florence
    Courtesy the Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo

    Firm contours establish the pose of the infant Christ in The Madonna of the Steps. A second sketch concentrates on rendering a fuller, softer belly. The handwriting in ink bleeding through from the paper's other side — impossible to read because the sheet is laid down — underscores the function of these sheets as workshop material.

  • Drawing of drapery on a kneeling figure

    Drapery Study, ca. 1522
    Black chalk
    6 1/2 x 6 3/8 in. (16.5 x 16.2 cm)
    Galleria degli Uffizi, Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe, Florence
    Recto
    Courtesy the Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo

    In preparing the figure of the kneeling Virgin in The Madonna of the Steps, Andrea uses a combination of short and long hatching lines to render the folds and fall of garments as they bunch around the lower body and tumble forward and down the steps. The blank vertical field just left of the knee is a placeholder for the leg of the Christ child, which occupies this spot in the painting.

  • Drawing of a kneeling unclothed male figure looking to the right

    Study of a Kneeling Figure with a Sketch of a Face, 1522–26
    Red and black chalk
    11 7/8 x 7 13/16 in. (30.1 x 19.8 cm)
    The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
    Recto

    Though it prepares a heavily draped, bare-headed apostle in the Assumption Andrea painted for the Panciatichi family (Palazzo Pitti, Florence), this drawing features a model (probably a studio assistant, or garzone) mostly nude and wearing a cap. Andrea articulates his muscular back with short, subtle marks while ignoring his left hand and foot and summarily blocking in the face. The connection to the face sketched in black chalk at right is unclear, although it, like the kneeling figure in the painting, turns to look at the viewer.

  • Drawing of children in various poses

    Studies of Children, 1522–26
    Red and black chalk
    7 7/8 x 9 13/16 in. (20 x 25 cm)
    The British Museum; bequeathed by George Salting, 1910
    Recto
    © The Trustees of the British Museum

    This sheet (along with Studies of a Child ) studies putti for the Assumption painted for the Panciatichi family. Beginning with the drawing on this sheet, Andrea explores a combination of strength and levity for the putto intended to support the ascending Virgin. Continuing to study the child, he arrives at the solution in Studies of a Child — raising the arm high, rotating the hips to the right, and emphasizing his round bottom — then adds studies of another child turning away. Combining chalks showcases their possibilities: black chalk presents a stronger contrast with paper and thus more intense light and dark; red, a wider range of tonal effects.

  • Drawing of a child's face

    Studies of the Head of an Infant, ca. 1522
    Red chalk
    9 3/4 x 7 1/4 in. (24.8 x 18.4 cm)
    Galleria degli Uffizi, Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe, Florence
    Recto
    Courtesy the Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo

    This head study prepares the face of the Christ child at the center of The Madonna of the Steps and features a subsidiary drawing focused on his slightly more puckered lips. The child's smooth flesh and rosy, plump cheeks are achieved by stumping (rubbing with an instrument) and applying a wetted brush over chalk hatching.

  • 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.

  • Drawing of a young man's face looking to the left

    Study for the Head of St. John the Baptist, ca. 1523
    Black chalk
    13 x 9 1/8 in. (33 x 23.1 cm)
    National Gallery of Art, Washington, Woodner Collection

    Drawn at the same scale as the painting it prepares, this head study must have been produced late in Andrea's design process and may have been transferred directly to the panel. The artist's handling of chalk brings to life the adolescent's features — playfully tousled hair, eyes looking askance, and lips slightly parted — and underlines that the sacred beings in Andrea's paintings were often rooted in models of flesh and blood.

  • Painting of the young St. John the Baptist with a red garment and holding a bowl

    St. John the Baptist, ca. 1523
    Oil on panel
    37 x 26 3/4 in. (94 x 68 cm)
    Palazzo Pitti, Galleria Palatina, Florence
    Courtesy the Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo

    This sensuous depiction of the luminous, handsome young saint was commissioned by a wealthy Florentine banker for display in his home. John's muscular body recalls that of Michelangelo's David. Standing in a rocky outcropping with his attributes of reed cross, camel skin, baptismal bowl, and proclamatory scroll held closed in his hand, he looks up to the source of divine radiance, enacting his role (as declared in the Gospel of John) as witness to the light of Christ.

  • Drawing of a half-length male figure with his right arm slightly raised

    Study of a Young Man, 1523
    Black chalk
    5 5/8 x 3 13/16 in. (14.3 x 9.7 cm)
    The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

    This sheet presents a young man almost exactly as he appears in The Feast of Herod, Andrea's fresco in Florence's Chiostro dello Scalzo. He is a servant who recoils at the appearance of Salomé with the head of John the Baptist on a platter. Here, only his raised hand gives any indication of the drama as his face is neutral, unlike the shocked expression in the painting.

  • 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.

  • Drawing of the face of a young woman

    Study of the Head of a Woman, ca. 1525
    Black chalk
    5 3/16 x 4 5/16 in. (13.2 x 10.9 cm)
    Musée du Louvre, Paris, Département des Arts Graphiques
    © RMN-Grand Palais / Art Resource, NY. Photo: Stephane Marechalle

    The visual impact of this diminutive drawing derives from the clarity of its forms and range of handling that pits heavily darkened features like the model's eyes, mouth, and left side of her face against the airy articulation of the back of her head, neck, and wisps of hair. It may be connected to several figures in secular and sacred paintings by Andrea.

  • Multiple sketches of a composition of the Madonna with the Christ child and angels

    Five Studies for a Lunette with the Virgin and Child, ca. 1525
    Red chalk
    11 3/8 x 10 1/4 in. (28.9 x 26.1 cm)
    The British Museum; donated by John Postle Heseltine, 1912
    © The Trustees of the British Museum

    These five studies for The Madonna of the Sack lunette in SS. Annunziata in Florence (one of Andrea's best known and lauded works) provide rare insight into the early stages of the artist's creative process. Moving quickly across the sheet, perhaps only in a matter of minutes, Andrea explores different arrangements of the Virgin and Child, from the Virgin standing, at top left, to sitting and nursing the Christ child at bottom right. His diverse handling of chalk — including faint strokes and reworked, stressed contours — echoes his experimental approach to the composition.

  • Sketch of the hair of a child

    Study of the Head of a Child Looking to the Right, ca. 1525
    Black chalk
    7 3/4 x 7 3/8 in. (19.7 x 18.7 cm)
    Galleria degli Uffizi, Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe, Florence
    Courtesy the Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo

    This unusual study focuses on a child's hair and almost completely neglects the face, save for circles and dashes for eyes, nose, and mouth. Perhaps more finished head studies, like the Head of an Infant in Profile to the Right, were accompanied by sheets like this, which offer alternative solutions for specific details. This drawing has not been securely related to a known painting. It might be an exercise in studying hair, without preparing a specific project, but it is blackened (strangely, on both sides), which suggests it was transferred to another surface.

  • Drawing of the upper body and face of a child

    Studies of a Child, 1522–26
    Red and black chalk
    7 5/8 x 10 7/16 in. (19.3 x 26.5 cm)
    Fondation Custodia, Collection Frits Lugt, Paris
    Recto

    This sheet (along with Studies of Children) studies putti for the Assumption painted for the Panciatichi family. Beginning with the drawing on Studies of Children, Andrea explores a combination of strength and levity for the putto intended to support the ascending Virgin. Continuing to study the child, he arrives at the solution in this sheet — raising the arm high, rotating the hips to the right, and emphasizing his round bottom — then adds studies of another child turning away. Combining chalks showcases their possibilities: black chalk presents a stronger contrast with paper and thus more intense light and dark; red, a wider range of tonal effects.

  • 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.

  • Drawing of the head of a bearded old man looking to the right

    Study of a Bearded Man in Profile, ca. 1526–27
    Black chalk, possibly with gray wash
    8 9/16 x 7 1/8 in. (21.8 x 18.1 cm)
    Galleria degli Uffizi, Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe, Florence
    Courtesy the Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo

    In this study for a disciple in Andrea's Last Supper in the refectory of the church of San Salvi, the artist indulges in his model's expressive physiognomy. Wisps of hair seem to fly from his scalp and chin, while judicious reserves (areas of untouched paper) emphasize his sunken cheeks and tightened muscles at the forehead and temple. In a second sketch of the eye area, Andrea experiments with a curling eyebrow and long, straight lashes, accentuating the figure's concentrated gaze at the drama unfolding at Christ's table.

  • Drawing of a scene of the birth of St. John the Baptist in a bedroom

    Composition Study for the Birth of St. John the Baptist, ca. 1526
    Red chalk
    6 7/16 x 8 11/16 in. (16.4 x 22.1 cm)
    The British Museum; bequeathed by Sir Hans Sloane, 1753
    © The Trustees of the British Museum

    Centered on the nurse presenting the newborn to his mother, this drawing prepares a scene in Andrea's fresco cycle of the life of the Baptist in the Chiostro dello Scalzo, Florence. The only surviving compositional study from this important commission, it experiments with depicting the moment when the father, Zacharias (at right), struck mute from disbelief at the prophecy of John's birth, miraculously regains his voice after writing, "His name is John" on a tablet. Andrea sketches the figures nude, a standard Renaissance convention, providing faint outlines of the drapery in which the painted figures will be clothed.

  • Drawing of the right arm of a seated man

    Study of the Arm of a Figure Seated in Profile to the Right, ca. 1526–27
    Red chalk
    7 9/16 x 8 1/4 in. (19.2 x 20.9 cm)
    Galleria degli Uffizi, Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe, Florence
    Courtesy the Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo

    An exemplary study from life, this sheet vividly captures the right arm of a model (probably a garzone) for a disciple in Andrea's Last Supper in the refectory in the church of San Salvi. He grips the bench he sits on and leans forward over the table at which Christ and his disciples dine. Andrea's sensitive rendering of the arm and hand using a combination of chalk effects contrasts with the sketchy (though no less evocative) midsection rendered in swift strokes, including the detail of the swelling at the groin.

  • Drawing of two hands holding objects

    Studies of Hands, ca. 1527
    Red chalk
    4 13/16 x 6 7/16 in. (12.2 x 16.3 cm)
    The Metropolitan Museum of Art; bequest of Walter C. Baker, 1971
    © The Metropolitan Museum of Art, courtesy Art Resource, NY

    This sheet exemplifies Andrea's powers of observation as he studies from life the hands of a model holding a book and an unidentified attribute. He meticulously captures the pull of skin over bone and the effects of light and shadow on the intricate forms of the human hand. The drawing has not been securely related to a known painting.

  • Drawing of unclothed male figures seated and standing behind a table

    Studies of Figures Seated and Standing Behind a Table, ca. 1526–27
    Red chalk
    10 1/16 x 14 5/16 in. (25.6 x 36.3 cm)
    Galleria degli Uffizi, Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe, Florence
    Recto
    Courtesy the Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo

    A cast of garzoni (or perhaps a single assistant posing several times) modeled for this study preparing disciples in Andrea's Last Supper in the refectory in the church of San Salvi, Florence. In the painting, one figure becomes elderly, one bald, one bearded, and all are swathed in drapery. Andrea does not include their lower bodies in the painting though here he sketched their legs. Below, a second study of the middle figure attests to Andrea's meticulous attention to the expressivity of the human body: besides adding hair, he levels the slopes of the shoulders and subtly straightens the torso.

  • Drawing of the head of a bearded man looking up and to the left

    Head of a Man Looking Up, ca. 1527
    Black chalk, with later red chalk additions
    9 3/4 x 6 15/16 in. (24.7 x 17.7 cm)
    The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford; purchased, 1944
    © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

    The chalk is applied confidently in this study for St. Joseph in Andrea's Holy Family with St. John the Baptist, a composition known in several copies (the autograph version is most likely in the Hermitage, St. Petersburg). The model's hair frames his upturned face like a mane, and varied handling conveys the difference between the texture of the hair on his head and in his beard.

  • Drawing of the head of a child looking down and to the right

    Head of an Infant in Profile to the Right, ca. 1527
    Red chalk
    9 3/4 x 7 in. (24.7 x 17.8 cm)
    Galleria degli Uffizi, Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe, Florence
    Recto
    Courtesy the Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo

    The subtlety of the reflected light at the chin and throat of the infant make this one of Andrea's most sensitive drawings. It probably prepared the head of the infant John the Baptist in The Holy Family with St. John (Hermitage, St. Petersburg). Andrea reused the design in two other paintings: the Borgherini Holy Family at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Charity at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. This economical use of drawings was typical and underlines the importance of such highly achieved drawings in the workshop.

  • Drawing of a composition of the Madonna and child surrounded by kneeling and standing saints

    Composition Study of the Madonna and Child with Saints, ca. 1528
    Red chalk
    6 1/8 x 5 5/16 in. (15.6 x 13.5 cm)
    Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett
    Recto
    bpk, Berlin / Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen, Berlin, Germany / Photo: Volker-H. Schneider / Art Resource, NY

    With quick strokes and remarkable economy of line, Andrea worked out the complex configuration of ten figures on this small sheet, a study for the Sarzana altarpiece, formerly in Berlin (destroyed during World War II). Scribbles describe details like St. Onophrius's loincloth of leaves (at far left) while a series of ovals marks his consideration of the head of the Christ child (at center). Swift lines falling from the Virgin's head emphasize her as the apex of a pyramidal figural composition, a Renaissance convention.

  • Drawing of a donkey grazing and turned to the left

    Study of a Donkey in Profile to the Left, Grazing, ca. 1528
    Red chalk
    6 5/8 x 7 5/8 in. (16.9 x 19.3 cm)
    The British Museum; bequeathed by William Fawkener, 1769
    © The Trustees of the British Museum

    Andrea analyzed the mechanics of the reins and harness as much as he did the anatomy of the grazing donkey in this drawing, which he used for the later two of three known versions of the Sacrifice of Isaac. A testament to Andrea's intense preparation for his paintings, it is the second design he produced for an animal that appears in the scene's background, partially blocked from view.

  • Drawings of the leg and abdomen of a male figure

    Studies after the Laocoön, ca. 1528
    Red chalk
    11 1/8 x 8 9/16 in. (28.3 x 21.7 cm)
    Galleria degli Uffizi, Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe, Florence
    Courtesy the Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo

    Inspired by the antique sculpture discovered in 1506 and widely known through copies and emulations, Andrea produced this sheet to prepare the figure of Isaac for the Sacrifice of Isaac, which survives in three versions today. These studies of a leg, big toe, and genitals of one of the Laocoön figures are rendered in fine, regular strokes. Here, chalk embraces the contours of the leg and brushes lightly against the paper to evoke the muscles of the torso, giving a sensuous quality to the flesh despite its source in marble.

  • Drawing of the face and neck of an old woman

    Study of the Head of an Old Woman, ca. 1529
    Red chalk
    9 13/16 x 7 5/16 in. (25 x 18.6 cm)
    The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford; presented by a Body of Subscribers, 1846
    © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

    For the pensive visage of St. Elizabeth (Mary's cousin) in The Medici Holy Family, Andrea generously applied red chalk to convey the wrinkled skin and crevices of the face of the older woman who miraculously conceived John, the prophet and baptizer of Christ. The drawing may have been produced before the full composition had been established for Andrea uncharacteristically included part of the figure that ultimately would not be painted: in the painting, her neck is obscured by the head of her son.

  • Drawing of a standing man looking over his left shoulder with left arm akimbo

    Study of a Standing Figure, ca. 1529
    Black chalk
    11 x 5 1/8 in. (27.9 x 13 cm)
    Galleria degli Uffizi, Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe, Florence
    Courtesy the Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo

    The theatrical pose of this full-length figure almost exactly matches (but in reverse) that of St. Michael in Andrea's altarpiece for the abbey of Vallombrosa (Uffizi, Florence). While the painted saint wears all'antica armor, here the figure dons clothing typical of the 1520s, including a plumed headdress. After studying the figure (probably a studio assistant), Andrea reconsidered the composition: framing lines transform it into a design for a half-length figure, perhaps a portrait.

  • Painting of the Madonna and child with St. Elizabeth and young St. John the Baptist

    The Medici Holy Family, 1529
    Oil on panel
    55 1/8 x 40 15/16 in. (140 x 104 cm)
    Palazzo Pitti, Galleria Palatina, Florence
    Courtesy the Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali e del turismo

    This depiction of the Virgin and Child with St. Elizabeth and her son, St. John the Baptist, under a stormy sky epitomizes the solemn, sacred paintings for which Andrea is best known. The pentimento in Christ’s leg is an insight into Andrea's development of the composition, a process further illuminated by preparatory drawings like the Study of the Head of an Old Woman and the infrared reflectogram of this painting. According to Giorgio Vasari, Ottaviano de’ Medici commissioned the painting — hence the title by which it is known.