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Studies of a Seated Female, Child's Head, and Three Studies of a Baby

Studies of a Seated Female, Child's Head, and Three Studies of a Baby

c. 1507-1508


(Italian, 1483-1520)


Support: Cream(3) laid paper prepared with a pink ground

Sheet: 12 x 15.3 cm (4 3/4 x 6 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1978.37


This drawing is from Raphael’s "pink sketchbook," comprised of ten sheets of roughly equal size portraying a mother and child. Today, six are at the Palais des Beaux-Arts, Lille; two are at the British Museum; one is in a private collection; and one is in Cleveland. The small format of the sheets would have enabled the artist to carry the notebook as he traveled from Florence to Rome in 1508. Raphael used metalpoint, a technique popular in 15th-and early 16th-century Italy. As the name implies, metalpoint employed a stylus of soft metal-usually silver or a silver alloy-that left a mark when applied to a specially prepared sheet coated with ground eggshell, powdered bone, or lead white. The rough texture allowed for a deposit of the metal to be left on the surface. The preparation of the ground was often tinted with pigment-here Raphael used pink-so that the delicate gray lines of the metalpoint would stand out. The rigorous technique cannot be erased or effaced, thus demonstrating the artist’s superlative draftsmanship.

See also
DR - Italian
Type of artwork: 

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