Filippino Lippi (Italian, Florentine, probably born 1457, died 1504)
Metalpoint, highlighted with white gouache, on pink prepared paper
9 5/8 x 8 1/2 in. (24.5 x 21.6 cm)
Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1936 (36.101.1)
This relatively finished sheet of figure studies drawn from a life model reflects the anatomical types of Andrea del Verrocchio and Sandro Botticelli. It can be dated to the late 1470s or early 1480s, and vividly illustrates the range of the young Filippino's virtuosity as a draftsman. The handling of the metalpoint remains delicate and precisely descriptive, with a shallow, relieflike rendering of chiaroscuro. The pose of the main figure, which was most likely a preparatory study for a Saint Sebastian, or perhaps for a Christ in a Flagellation scene, recalls Botticelli's early Saint Sebastian in Berlin; that panel can be dated to January 1474 and thus was probably painted during Filippino's apprenticeship in Botticelli's workshop. Filippino's lean, muscular nude is much more naturalistic than Botticelli's figure, however, and closely emulates the Christ in the Baptism of Christ (Florence, Uffizi) painted by Verrocchio and Leonardo for the monks at San Salvi, probably about 1476.