Head of a Bearded Man, 1355–80
Pen and ink, brush and gray black and brown ink, traces of white heightening, on white laid paper; 4 1/2 x 3 3/8 in. (11.3 x 8.5 cm)
Purchase, Gift of Dr. Mortimer D. Sackler, Theresa Sackler and Family, 2003 (2003.29)
This fine drawing was made in all likelihood just after 1350 in Bohemia. The ponderous visage, with flowing beard and full features, is close to images in panel and mural painting created in that area during the reign of Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV, especially in the decades following his coronation in Rome in 1355. With remarkable contrasts of light and shadow, subtle highlighting in the beard, and delicate brushstrokes at the brow, the drawing is one of the most beautiful among Bohemian examples, which form an important part of the limited corpus of drawings from the second half of the fourteenth century.