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Old Master Drawings 17th-18th c. Italian

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Study of the Head of a Young Woman and Hands

17th century
28.4 cm x 24.6 cm (11 3/16 in. x 9 11/16 in.)

Giovanni Battista Gaulli (Baciccio) (Genoa, Italy, 1639 - 1709, Rome, Italy) Primary

Object Type: drawing
Artist Nationality: Europe, Italian
Medium and Support: Red chalk with traces of white chalk on beige antique laid paper
Credit Line: Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Purchase through the generosity of the 1987 Friends of the Archer M. Huntington Art Gallery
Accession Number: 1987.16

In this group of studies Baciccio’s skillful use of red chalk shows its range. Lines in the young woman’s hair curve and curl like clouds or rapids, light and shadow play out in cross-hatched lines in the lower hand, and color imbues the studies with subtle warmth.

This variety points to how the drawing was made and for what purpose. At first glance, the head and lower hand look like they are part of the same figure, with another hand awkwardly reaching for her mouth. A closer look at scale, placement, and cropping reveals that this is probably the left half of a larger sheet of studies from a sketchbook that Baciccio worked from all sides.

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