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Study of a Seated Young Man
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Guercino
Italian, about 1619
Black chalk dipped in gum, heightened with white chalk on brown paper
20 9/16 x 16 13/16 in.
89.GB.52

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In his youth, Guercino made many drawings from nude models, often using charcoal, the traditional medium for such studies. Artists usually made such drawings from the nude, known as académies , in an art academy or in an artist's studio. Guercino probably made large-scale drawings like this one as demonstration pieces to inspire the pupils in his own academy. He made other oiled-charcoal nude studies of this model around the same time. For these studies, Guercino typically used rough, light-brown paper and charcoal soaked in oil, which made the line darker and more permanent. For luminosity, he added occasional touches of white chalk highlights. This combination enabled him to create luminous shadows or reflected light within deep shadow and to suggest the texture of flesh. His masterly technique simplified forms and distinctively modeled them with soft lines and broad shading to suggest the play of light.