Study of Saint Francis
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Italian, about 1517
Black chalk
15 15/16 x 11 3/16 in.

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The figure of Saint Francis kneels with his hands clasped in prayer, wearing a hooded cassock. Soft lines of parallel hatching as well as smudging give texture and depth to the image, which contains few details. Pontormo used this sketch in preparation for painting the saint in an altarpiece. He drew Saint Francis over a partially obliterated standing man with a staff in his left hand, posed frontally with his head tilted to the left.

Pontormo also conserved paper on the verso, drawing a powerful image of the dead Christ with his head thrown dramatically backward, over a female figure in profile. With a flurry of pencil strokes, he suggested an emaciated body with slender limbs and taut flesh. The right margin of the drawing also contains fragmentary sketches, perhaps of drapery, indicating that the sheet used to be larger and had further drawings on it.

Other Views

Verso: Dead Christ
Verso: Dead Christ