Tanzio da Varallo

This sensitive drawing, which depicts an angel leading the soul of a deceased man to heaven, was made by Tanzio in preparation for his fresco decorations in the Chapel of the Guardian Angel in the Basilica of San Gaudenzio, Novara, completed in 1629. The drawing corresponds closely with two figures painted in the chapel, who glide aloft on clouds at the base of the vault. The angel guides the deceased with his right hand and gestures with his left, directing his charge to look up toward the vault’s apex, where Christ appears. Tanzio’s finished study focuses on this moment of divine revelation, delicately rendering the interplay of light and shadow across the figures.

Tanzio da Varallo
Italian, ca. 1582–1632/33
An Angel Guides a Deceased Believer to the Kingdom of Heaven, ca. 1628–29
Red chalk on reddish prepared paper
Kupferstich-Kabinett, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, INV. NO. C 1937-840
© Kupferstich-Kabinett, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden