Drapery study for a seated figure

Drapery study for a seated figure Late 1470s

Studies of draperies of this type were executed in the Verrocchio workshop as a sort of training exercise in which the artist learnt how to model sculptural forms in two dimensions.

According to Giorgio Vasari in his biography of Leonardo, the artist was skilled at this type of drawing, for which he sometimes made “models of clay figures, which he covered with soft rags dipped in plaster and then patiently copied them upon fine cambric or used linen, working in black and white with the point of a brush – marvellous things.”

This drawing is similar to the draperies of the Virgin in the Annunciation, although not exactly the same. It is likely that Leonardo kept such drawings in his portfolio so that they could be used as points of reference in paintings as and when the opportunity arose, and as examples for apprentices.

  • Medium Brush and grey tempera, highlighted with white on grey prepared linen
  • Size 26.6 x 23.3 cm
  • Location Musée du Louvre

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