Nov 20, 2012

Three Male Nudes

Three Male Nudes

c. 1540–47

Domenico Beccafumi

(Italian, 1486–1551)

Black chalk or charcoal with brush and black chalk or charcoal wash, heightened with white gouache; incised

Support: Light brown laid paper (discolored), laid down on a secondary support (not visible), laid on a tertiary support of laid paper

Sheet: 23.2 x 41.7 cm (9 1/8 x 16 7/16 in.); Secondary Support: 23.2 x 41.9 cm (9 1/8 x 16 1/2 in.); Tertiary Support: 24.8 x 42.7 cm (9 3/4 x 16 13/16 in.)

Delia E. Holden Fund 1958.313



Domenico Beccafumi was intensely aware of the work of his contemporary Michelangelo when he developed his own style for projects in Siena, south of Florence. This drawing is a study for a chiaroscuro print, a type of woodblock print using several blocks, some colored, to create light and shadow. The drawing features three male nudes whose roles are unknown. The closest figure, reclining with his back toward the viewer, recalls ancient sculptures of river gods as well as works by Michelangelo, including the reclining figures he sculpted for the Medici tombs in Florence.

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