Study of a Male Nude as Hercules
33.4 cm x 24.5 cm (13 1/8 in. x 9 5/8 in.)
Giovanni Battista Piazzetta
(Venice, Italy, 1682 - 1754, Venice, Italy)
Medium and Support:
Black chalk with touches of red chalk on cream antique laid paper, laid down
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, The Suida-Manning Collection, 2017
Piazzetta brought to Venetian painting a pungent naturalism that had largely escaped the school in the 17th century. To the school’s draftsmanship he introduced the systematic practice that he had learned in the Bolognese academy and upon which that naturalism was predicated. The first stage in that practice consisted of life drawing from a model in the studio. This is an especially fine and fresh example of such a study from Piazzetta’s informally organized Venetian academy. While the study is admirably correct, with gravity palpable and notation sure, it remains conspicuously Venetian in a light that seems to pervade the sheet, absorb form, and coarsen surface.