Man Standing Beside a Plinth on Which He Rests a Book, and a Study of Saint Luke, ca. 1530–40
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1909
Only a very small number of drawings in Mariette’s collection were displayed in frames. Most of the sheets in his cabinet were mounted on paper mats and stored inside cardboard portfolios. The organization of the drawings on independent mounts rather than in the bound albums more common at that time allowed for easy handling of the individual sheets.
Moreover, according to theories of visual perception at the time, a subject needed to be grasped by the viewer in a single glance (or coup d’oeil) in order to be fully apprehended. The generally standardized format of Mariette’s mats limited the dimensions of the sheets, allowing the viewer to see the whole composition at once.