Studies of a Seated Youth in Armor

Artist: Vittore Carpaccio (Italian, Venice 1460/66?–1525/26 Venice)

Date: ca. 1505

Medium: Point of brush and gray wash, highlighted with white gouache, on blue paper

Dimensions: 7 1/2 x 7 1/16in. (19 x 18cm)

Classification: Drawings

Credit Line: The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha Whittelsey Fund, 1954

Accession Number: 54.119


This celebrated drawing depicts a young model dressed in armor and positioned as though he were on horseback, his right arm raised and holding the shaft of a spear in his gloved hand. The figure is supplemented at upper right by a study of a helmet and, at lower left, by a detail of the armor. Both secondary studies are drawn in a larger scale, allowing Carpaccio to explore them in great detail. The pictorial effects of the drawing are achieved through the chromatic contrast of the blue paper; the reflections on the armor and the boy’s face are achieved through using white gouache and shadows in a few parallel lines. The artist may have intended to use this study for a painting, though the figure differs from the series of canvases dedicated to the life of the saint that he painted for the Scuola di San Giorgio in Venice.