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Study for the Head of Julius Caesar

Artist:
Andrea del Sarto (Andrea d'Agnolo) (Italian, Florence 1486–1530 Florence)
Date:
ca. 1520–21
Medium:
Red chalk
Dimensions:
Sheet: 8 7/16 x 7 1/4 in. (21.5 x 18.4 cm)
Classification:
Drawings
Credit Line:
Partial and Promised Gift of Mr. and Mrs. David M. Tobey, 2008
Accession Number:
2008.367
Not on view
A recent discovery, this drawing has been identified as Andrea del Sarto's study for the main figure in his monumental fresco The Tribute Presented to Julius Caesar in Egypt, painted in 1521 in the salone, or great hall, at the Villa Medici in Poggio a Caiano, near Florence. The drawing, executed in Sarto's favorite medium of red chalk, offers a precise portrait of Julius Caesar, based on the design of marble busts or coins representing the Roman emperor that were widely known during the Renaissance. The artist's actual source may have been either an antique or a fifteenth-century Florentine work. Caesar's profile and especially his long aquiline nose were carefully drawn with a fine, relatively continuous outline, then reinforced, while the rest of the head is more freely executed, with softer contours and delicate internal modeling. The faint exploratory lines along the profile, especially the nose, attest to the artist's concern for getting these features right. Commissioned by Pope Leo X and his half brother Cardinal Giulio de' Medici, the fresco cemented Sarto's position as the leading painter in Florence, soon after he had returned from his visit to the French court in 1518.
sale, Galerie Koller, 23 March 2007, lot 3413 (as Florentine School); Donor: David M. Tobey
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Philippe de Montebello Years: Curators Celebrate Three Decades of Acquisitions," October 24, 2008–February 1, 2009.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "An Italian Journey. Drawings from the Tobey Collection: Correggio to Tiepolo," May 11, 2010–August 15, 2010.

J. Paul Getty Museum. "Andrea del Sarto: The Renaissance Workshop in Action," June 23, 2015–September 13, 2015.

The Frick Collection. "Andrea del Sarto: The Renaissance Workshop in Action," October 6, 2015–January 10, 2016.

Frankfurt. Städel Museum. "Maniera: Pontormo, Bronzino and Medici Florence," February 24, 2016–June 5, 2016.

Stijn Alsteens, Carmen C. Bambach, Perrin Stein "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 2008-2010." in The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, vol. 68, no. 2, Fall 2010, p. 23 (entry by Carmen C. Bambach).

Linda Wolk-Simon, Carmen C. Bambach An Italian Journey. Drawings from the Tobey Collection: Correggio to Tiepolo. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (May 12 - August 15, 2010). New York, 2010, pp. 10-13, no. 3 (entry by George R. Goldner).

Julian Brooks Andrea del Sarto: The Renaissance Workshop in Action Exh. cat., Los Angeles, J. Paul Getty Museum and New York, The Frick Collection. 2015, pp. 92-95, no. 23.

Carmen Bambach "Andrea del Sarto: Los Angeles and New York." The Burlington Magazine. 158 (January 2016), 2016, p. 72.

Maniera: Pontormo, Bronzino and Medici Florence Exh. cat. Frankfurt, Städel Museum. Ed. by Bastian Eclercy, Munich, London and New York, 2016, pp. 84-85, no. 21 (entry by Bastian Eclercy).



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