The painting to which this drawing relates was never realized because an Old Master Italian canvas was donated and took its place in the chapel for which it was intended.
George Romney drew prolifically and his vivid spontaneity is most apparent in hundreds of bold studies rendered in a highly personalized style. This preparatory drawing was for an unrealized history painting intended to decorate the chapel of King’s College, Cambridge. The simplified figure of the mourning Virgin was drawn with flowing lines and heavy ribbons of wash. Romney gave form to the mournful tone of his subject with descending lines that pool at the bottom of the composition. The Virgin’s oversized, pleading hands further emphasize the pathos of his subject.
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