Peter Paul Rubens

Study of a Young Man's Head

c. 1612-1615
Rubens’ study of Cupid is a supplementary drawing made to guide the work of his assistants in the production of Cupid Supplicating Jupiter’s Consent to his Marriage with Psyche. Rubens could easily create such images from memory, and this work lacks the immediacy of many of his life studies. The drawing’s function is to provide direction, something like a set of instructions. Close comparison of the drawn and painted forms shows clearly how the limited tonal values in the drawing were to be read by an assistant charged with transfer of the form into paint. The result is a simplified application of Rubens’ practice in flesh painting.
Title
Study of a Young Man's Head
Date
c. 1612-1615
Medium
Drawing
Materials
black chalk heightened with white chalk on buff laid paper
Dimensions
31.3 x 28 cm
Nationality
Flemish
Credit line
Purchased 1953
Accession number
6159

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