Reclining Male Nude
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Francesco Salviati
Italian, Rome, about 1550
Red chalk heightened with white chalk
10 5/8 x 15 5/8 in.

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In this highly polished chalk study, Mannerist Francesco Salviati combined tight, sure contours with subtle modeling to suggest the smoothness of the marble sculpture on which he based his rendition. He introduced white chalk highlights so economically that they are almost invisible, never interrupting the smooth light-to-dark gradations that shape his forms. Salviati based this drawing on the Hercules Chiaramonti , a classical sculpture in the Vatican Museums. To make a complete figure, he reconstructed parts missing from the damaged statue: the head, right forearm, and right leg below the knee. Salviati's talent made this inanimate, incomplete figure appear alive, animatedly twisting to gaze wide-eyed off the sheet.