Study of a Cloaked Bearded Man Standing with Profile to Left

WAG 1995.100


This is a copy of a drawing by Fra Bartolommeo in the Louvre, Paris. Fra Bartolommeo (1472 - 1517), also known as Baccio della Porta, was an Italian artist. As a young child, his family lived in a house outside the Porta S Pier Gattolini in Florence, hence his nickname Baccio della Porta (with Baccio being a diminutive form of Bartolommeo). He went by this name until 1500 when, influenced by the preaching of Savoranola (1452 - 1498), he entered the convent of San Domenico di Prato and took the vows of the Dominican order, becoming Fra Bartolommeo. He then gave up painting until 1504. In 1513 he travelled to Rome but soon returned to Florence, becoming one of the city's leading artists. Combining rich Venetian colouring with use of 'sfumato' (hazy tones and shadows) for depth, and harmonious poses and depictions of movement, his works evoked powerful emotional responses in the viewer. Giorgio Vasari and later historians agreed that Fra Bartolommeo was an essential force in the development of the High Renaissance, being the first painter in Florence to understand the work of Leonardo da Vinci and apply da Vinci's methods to his own work. According to the two inventories made of Fra Bartolommeo's drawings and other material, drawing was the main outlet for his creativity. Almost 900 loose sheets of drawings, and 180 others bound in 12 small sketchbooks, are listed in one of the inventories, but it is estimated that his drawings numbered at more than a thousand. Leopoldo de' Medici was the first systematic collector of his drawings who by 1675 was in ownership of 245 drawings. This drawing was previously owned by George, 2nd Earl Spencer (1758 - 1834), as an original Fra Bartolommeo.