Black chalk with red chalk
Support: Beige(1) laid paper (discolored)
Sheet: 37.3 x 26.2 cm (14 11/16 x 10 5/16 in.)
John L. Severance Fund 1953.626
Drawings by Bernardo Strozzi are exceedingly scarce, especially full worked-up preparatory drawings such as this study for Minerva.
The Genoese painter Bernardo Strozzi drew this female figure in preparation for one of his major oil paintings, also in the collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art (1929.133). Recent scholarship has convincingly identified the subject as Minerva. The Roman goddess of war has put aside her armor for more contemplative pursuits; her upward gaze—as if seeking inspiration—recalls her other associations with wisdom, eloquence, and the arts. The figure is one of a number of single female figures associated with intellectual and artistic pursuits made by Strozzi in the 1630s when he lived and worked in Venice. Such works appealed to his learned patrons in northern Italy.
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