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Portrait of a Woman
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David Bailly
Dutch, 1629
Pen and light and dark brown ink; framing line in dark brown ink; pupils incised by the artist
Diam.: 5 1/16 in.
87.GA.40

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David Bailly concentrated his meticulous technique on the details of this woman's face, which pops out of the more sketchily rendered costume, giving an almost three-dimensional effect. He played with the more unusual circular format, echoing its roundness with the girl's head, cap, and stiff lace collar, and added expression to her eyes by scratching the paper to create her pupils' white highlights. Influenced by the relaxed approach to portraiture that took hold in Holland around the beginning of the 1600s, Bailly gave the girl expressive eyes, the hint of a smile, and stray locks of hair coming loose from her formal lace headdress.

With drawings like this one, Bailly continued the tradition of miniature portrait drawings and engravings that Hendrick Goltzius and Jacques de Gheyn II had established at the end of the 1500s. Bailly also adopted De Gheyn's technique of hatched and stippled modeling in two tones of brown ink.