Baldassare Franceschini ("Il Volterrano") (Italian, 1611–1690)
Black chalk, highlighted with white, on blue-green paper, deckled edges; glued onto secondary paper support; 15 5/16 x 10 3/8 in. (38.9 x 26.3 cm)
Gift of Margot and Leonard Gordon, 1996 (1996.142.3)
This animated study was drawn in preparation for the figure of Saint John the Evangelist in Franceschini's vault fresco of the Coronation of the Virgin in the Niccolini Chapel of Santa Croce, Florence, executed between 1652 and 1660. Drawings such as this enabled Franceschini to paint perspectivally complex frescoes, for which he was much admired during his lifetime. Here the rapidly drawn sketch defines the pose and sets the figure in space, corrected for the anticipated vantage point of the viewer.