The Head of Giuliano de' Medici, after Michelangelo [Recto and Verso]
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The Head of Giuliano de' Medici, after Michelangelo [Recto and Verso]
Both sides of this drawing show Michelangelo’s Head of Giuliano de’ Medici, although they represent it from slightly different angles. Michelangelo’s sculpture (the original is in Florence) was famous at the time. Domenico is likely to have known it through two copies in his father’s workshop which were used as teaching models. Jacopo Tintoretto strongly encouraged his pupils to make detailed copies after antique sculpture and the work of Michelangelo, and he would have them draw the objects from different angles and under different lighting conditions. In this sheet, Domenico may have drawn the sculpture by candle light, which would have generated the strong contrasts between light and dark and allowed him to experiment with bold chiaroscuro.

Glossary Open

Chiaroscuro

Derived from the Italian for "light-dark", describes the effect of light and dark in a work of art, especially when they are in strong contrast. It is a term particularly associated with painting of the 17th century.

Medici

A wealthy and important family who ruled Florence for much of the 15th to the 18th centuries. During this period they commissioned many great artists and architects including Fra Angelico, Donatello, and Botticelli.

Workshop

Specifically used for a group of artists or craftsmen working collaboratively, usually under the direction of a master, up to the mid-17th century. The phrase 'Workshop of…' is used to describe the origin of an artwork when the master artist had no hand in its creation.

Chiaroscuro, Medici, Workshop

Details

  • Acc. No. D 1855
  • Medium Black chalk, heightened with white on buff paper
  • Size 35.30 x 25.00 cm
  • Credit Lady Murray of Henderland Gift 1860 as a memorial of her husband, Lord Murray of Henderland