Anonymous Venetian artist
Head of a Youth, late 15th or early 16th century
Black chalk and traces of brown ink on grayish-cream laid paper
8 1/2 × 6 1/4 in. (216 x 159 mm)
Promised Gift from the Collection of Elizabeth and Jean-Marie Eveillard
Photo Joseph Coscia Jr.
Male portrait heads drawn in black chalk abound in Venetian art of the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. Some may have been preparatory for, or derived from, painted portraits of a similar format; others were produced as independent pieces. This sheet bears close similarities with the work of painters such as Alvise Vivarini (act. 1476–1504) and Jacometto Veneziano (act. 1472–97), who worked in the tradition of the Bellini workshop. Once rumored to be part of Giorgio Vasari’s Libro de’ Disegni (Book of Drawings)—which it likely was not—this sheet was altered in brown ink, probably when it was inserted into an album.