'Studies of angels playing the viol and recorder (?)' c1597

Annibale Carracci? (1560 - 1609)

Black chalk on laid, off-white paper, 16.9 x 21.4cm

This sketch is a working drawing for the 'Adoration of the Shepherds' painted by Annibale Carracci in Rome. It shows the figures not as finally painted but in the process of being defined. Many changes were made between the initial large sketch (now in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge) on which these figures are based and the final painting.

The combination of relatively finished areas, such as the viol-playing angel, with rougher drawn figures, is common in later drawings by Carracci. However, the careful chalk marks are not altogether typical of his later style. This may indicate the work was executed by an assistant.

This drawing is not securely dated. It may have been made around the same time as the painting (1597 - 98), or may date from after 1600.

Purchased with the help of the Art Fund and National Heritage Memorial Fund.