Agnolo Bronzino

This refined drawing was most likely a preparatory study for Bronzino’s fresco decorations in the private chapel of Duchess Eleonora di Toledo at the Palazzo Vecchio, Florence. The artist modeled the child’s face with delicate hatching, which he then rubbed to create finely blended shadows, endowing the study with the smooth surface of polished sculpture. The inclusion of lightly sketched wings indicates that the figure is an angel or a putto, of a similar type to those painted in Eleonora’s chapel. The seemingly abstract vertical lines on the child’s face and chest are remnants of a linear sketch of crossed legs, which relates to another figural motif developed for the chapel commission.

Agnolo Bronzino
Italian, 1503–1572
Head of a Child Looking Upward, early 1540s
Black chalk with stumping
Kupferstich-Kabinett, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, INV. NO. C 85
© Kupferstich-Kabinett, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden
Photo: Herbert Boswank