Three Angels Appearing to Abraham, 1570
pen and brown ink with brown wash over black chalk on tan laid paper
22.1 x 15.7 cm
Gift of Sidney and Gladye Bregman, Toronto, 2000
National Gallery of Canada (no. 40591)
This compositional drawing is preparatory for a processional banner surviving in the Museo di San Salvi in Florence, executed for a confraternity in Vasari's native Arezzo. The story, taken from Genesis, relates how three angels appeared to Abraham to announce that he and wife Sarah would produce a son, despite their advanced ages. Characteristic of Vasari's drawing style are the loose, resilient contour lines and the angular internal modelling. Equally typical is the majestic if rather brittle design.