Bust of a Man

Wolfgang Huber German

Not on view

This expressive drawing by Wolfgang Huber, one of the greatest painters of the Danube school, is part of a group of nine head studies in the same medium and technique, all initialed and dated 1522. These sheets offer penetrating essays on physiognomy, obscuring the boundaries between observation and imagination, and may have evolved from Huber's study of Leonardo's work. The drawing exhibited here was preparatory for the head of a young Roman soldier in the left background of the "Raising of the Cross" (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna), a composition densely packed with the faces of onlookers of richly varied characterization. In the drawing, the slightly foreshortened, three-quarter view of the young man's head accentuates the heroic anxiety of his features. Huber's bold use of the drawing medium—chalk and wash—differs significantly from that of his other drawings and that of his northern contemporaries. It may have been a response to contemporary north Italian techniques.

Bust of a Man, Wolfgang Huber (German, Feldkirch/Vorarlberg ca. 1485/90–1553 Passau), Black and white chalk on off-white paper prepared with red gouache

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