A Kneeling Nude Woman with her Left Arm Raised
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A Kneeling Nude Woman with her Left Arm Raised about 1518
Raphael's exquisite drawings reveal his meticulous preparation for the compositions he painted. Traditionally, young male assistants were used by Renaissance artists to model female figures, a practice Raphael followed in his early work. In Rome, however, he was one of the first to use female models for life drawing, as here. He also realised the potential of the new medium of red chalk for descriptive outlines and subtle modelling. This study and the smaller sketches next to it are connected with frescoes of Cupid and Psyche Raphael planned in 1518 for the villa beside the river Tiber of the wealthy banker Agostino Chigi.

Glossary Open

Composition

The arrangement of different elements in a work of art.

Fresco

A wall painting applied to fresh, wet plaster so that the coloured pigment is absorbed into the surface of the wall.

Renaissance

A period in European culture from the 14th to the 16th centuries in which the visual arts flourished with advances in the treatment of anatomy and the use of perspective. It is particularly associated with Italy, where it began, though the term applies elsewhere. It is noted for a revival of interest in the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome.

Composition, Fresco, Renaissance

Details

  • Acc. No. D 5145
  • Medium Red chalk, with touches of black chalk, over stylus underdrawing on off-white paper
  • Size 27.90 x 18.70 cm
  • Credit Purchased by Private Treaty with the aid of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Art Fund and the Pilgrim Trust 1987