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Paris Bordone (1500–1571)
Head of a Bearded Sleeping Man, early 1530s
Black and white chalk on blue paper faded to green gray
Inscribed at lower left, in pen and brown ink, Tiziano.
7 5/16 x 5 1/2 inches (185 x 133 mm.)
Gift of Janos Scholz, 1981; 1981.90
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In comparison to Bordone's more forcefully drawn Standing Man Playing a Viola da Gamba, here the emphasis is on the shimmering surface of the subject's skin. The artist was strongly influenced by the chalk style of Titian, to whom the present sheet was once ascribed. The candid naturalism of this intimate study of a sleeping man suggests it was done from life.

Of the several paintings and frescoes by Bordone that feature similar sleeping figures, the artist's Last Supper in San Giovanni in Bragora, Venice, in which St. John rests his head on Christ's shoulder, relates most closely to this drawing.

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The programs of The Morgan Library & Museum are made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.