God the Father (recto); Standing Christ (verso)
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Vittore Carpaccio
Italian, Venice, about 1495 - 1500
Brush and gray wash, white gouache heightening, and touches of black chalk underdrawing on blue prepared ground
8 1/4 x 6 3/4 in.

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Gazing downwards, God the Father grasps his celestial orb in one hand and watches over earth surrounded by a ring of clouds. Vittore Carpaccio first applied black chalk and gray wash, describing the figure's overall outline with strong strokes. Dark vertical lines of hatching give texture to God's robe as well as to the clouds. The artist then exploited the brilliance and luminosity of the white gouache by applying it on top of the chalk. With white lines, he delineated the long delicate hairs of God's beard, differentiating them from the curling strands on his head. The glowing quality of the white gouache and the solid three-dimensionality of God's form create a sense of energy radiating from him.

When the sheet is turned upside down, another study in red chalk appears beneath the greenish-blue preparation. This shows the upper part of the torso of a standing man wearing a toga-like costume and raising his left forearm. This abandoned sketch may have been drawn in connection with the study on the verso. The young man on the verso--probably Christ--who appears to be on a pedestal, may have been copied from an antique sculpture.

Other Views

Recto upside-down
Recto upside-down

Verso: Standing Christ
Verso: Standing Christ