Profile Head of an Old Man (“Niccolò da Uzzano”), Peter Paul Rubens
Red chalk and red chalk wash, over a layer of opaque light gray. Roughly 9 X 6 inches (22 x 16 cm). In the collection of the Morgan Library and Museum.
In this beautifully realized chalk drawing the bony geometry of the face and the suggestion of veins in the sitter’s temple and neck suggest carful observation on Ruben’s part.
The masterful tone work is a combination of textural chalk marks and a wash made either by wetting the chalk in areas or by creating a wash from chalk particles suspended in water and applying it with a brush like an ink wash.
Link: Profile Head of an Old Man ("Niccolò da Uzzano"), Morgan Library
4 Replies to “Eye Candy for Today: Rubens red chalk profile portrait”
Must be the same model that posed for Leonardo Da Vinci’s drawings.
(just joking :-) )
Interesting is that after the ‘old man’s’ death his polychrome bust (46x44cm) by Donatello received more attention.
I prefer Ruben’s ‘bustling’ portrait.
Love the ‘moth-eaten’ ear detail.
Such great works have the knack of making one think, “I could do that” …. but then we find out that life/art is never that simple
Thanks for the comment, John.
Yes, it’s easy to make assumptions about how hard certain levels of ability are to achieve, but I think it’s worth remembering that even the most accomplished artists had to start somewhere, and try not to be intimidated by their skills. I’ve fallen into that mistake in the past and I try to be wary of it now.
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