A Young Man Standing Facing Left Wearing a Cloak and Cap

WAG 1995.82


This drawing is a characteristic silverpoint study from the prolific Florence workshop of Domenico Ghirlandaio (1448/9 - 1494). The unidentified artist drew it with the tip of a rod of metal, usually silver, onto a paper prepared with a coloured ground and provided highlights with white opaque gouache. Such studies were common in Florence in the last years of the fifteenth century. They were usually treated as preliminary studies for more detailed drawings, for which the artist might use the more flexible medium of quill pen and ink. The figure is probably a drapery study from a pattern-book. As a drapery study it would have attracted the attention of later artist-collectors such as Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723 - 1794), who once owned this drawing; his collector's mark is stamped in the lower left corner. Reynolds could have acquired the drawing directly from John Campbell, 4th Duke of Argyll (1693 - 1770), whose coat of arms is seen on the hand-drawn mount. We know Reynolds was in contact with the family between 1758 and 1761 because he was painting a portrait of the 4th Duke's daughter-in-law: 'Elizabeth Gunning, Duchess of Hamilton and Argyll', which is now in NML's collection at the Lady Lever Art Gallery (LL 3126).