Cesare Alessandro Scaglia, Seated

black chalk drawing of man seated, wearing cloak

Anthony van Dyck (1599–1641)
Cesare Alessandro Scaglia, Seated, ca. 1634
Black chalk, heightened with white chalk, on brown paper
19 1/8 × 12 3/4 in. (48.6 × 32.4 cm)
Frits Lugt Collection, Fondation Custodia, Paris

The abbot and diplomat Cesare Alessandro Scaglia was one of Van Dyck’s most important private patrons. This drawing, which prepared a large, full-length portrait, may represent a design that was abandoned. In the final version, Scaglia leans against a pillar, whereas here he appears seated, as though enthroned, holding a document in one hand. The choice of buff (coarser, light brown) paper is not unusual in the portrait sketches of Van Dyck’s later period. As did blue paper, it provided the artist with a middle tone for the black and white chalks with which he sketched the pose, to guide his subsequent work on the painting.

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