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Study of a Man's Right Hand (recto); Studies of Four Heads and of a Nude Figure Seen from the Rear (verso)
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Bronzino, Agnolo
Italian, Italy, about 1545 - 1552
Black chalk (recto); pen and brown ink (verso)
3 x 6 in.
92.GB.40

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As soon as they were installed in 1534, Michelangelo's sculptures for the Medici Mausoleum in Florence captured the attention of other artists. One of those artists, Agnolo Bronzino, made this drawing as a study of the right hand of one of those sculptures. With precision he copied the crisscross pattern of the accentuated veins and even the square thumbnail.

In order to make this study, Bronzino must somehow have raised himself to the level of the hand, since it is drawn straight on and close-up and not from a low viewpoint. Perhaps he used steps to gain a better view or made the study from a cast of the hand. He combined more than one view of the three-dimensional hand, including both the upper surface of the thumb and the bulging muscle along the lower contour of the hand, which in reality cannot be seen at the same time. This gave difficulties when he tried to foreshorten the crooked forefinger, and faint traces of an early attempt still remain.

In contrast to the careful presentation on the recto, the draftsman swiftly and spontaneously sketched four heads on the verso of this sheet.

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Verso: Studies of Four Hands
Verso: Studies of Four Hands