GIOVANNI LANFRANCO | THE HEAD OF A MAN
Parma 1582 - 1647 Roma
THE HEAD OF A MAN
Black chalk on blue paper, the outlines incised, squared for transfer in black chalk;
bears old attribution in pen and brown ink, verso: Mola
354 by 230 mm; 14 by 9 in
Window mounted. The upper right corner has been made up, restoration and repair visible on the verso. Light staining and surface dirt. Some red chalk marks, possibly studio marks/stains due to it being a working drawing. There is a small area of repair at the top of his neck, thinning of the paper evident when lifting sheet to the light.. Black chalk remains strong and blue paper has retained its colour.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792), London (L.2364);
sale, New York, Christie's, 30 January 1998, lot 73
One of the most arresting of all Giovanni Lanfranco's drawings, this striking head study cannot be connected with any of his known commissions, but none the less illustrates how the artist used such a working drawing during the preliminary stages of a project. The incised outlines and black chalk squaring both indicate that the drawing was used in the transfer process, as a cartoon, providing fascinating insight into Lanfranco's working methods. The appeal of the sheet also lies in the combination of black chalk on blue paper, a pairing that the artist used to great effect throughout his career. Lanfranco has rendered this head study with the sensitivity of a portrait drawn from life, which it very probably was, given the careful scrutiny of the features and the intensity of the sitter's sideward gaze. The intimacy of the image is further emphasised by the soft application of the chalk and delicate shading in certain areas of the face.
At the time of the 1998 sale, Dr. Erich Schleier and Dr Ann Sutherland Harris both confirmed the attribution to Lanfranco, the former in a letter dated 18 November 1997, and the latter in a letter dated 30 November 1997. Dr Sutherland Harris proposed a dating to late in the artist's career.