Three Male Heads

Baccio Bandinelli Italian

Not on view

The subject of this powerful drawing with the head of a man seen in three stages—youth, maturity, and old age—is elusive. Various interpretations have been suggested, from the Ages of Man to an allegory of past, present, and future. The central figure may have been intended as an idealized self-portrait of the artist, the Florentine sculptor and draftsman Baccio Bandinelli. The portrayal of the three heads on the same scale from three different points of view–to the left, frontally, and in profile to the right—betrays Bandinelli's interest in the description of forms in the round, an approach suited to his main occupation, sculpture. The juxtaposition of overlapping heads, turned at various angles, seems to have been a recurring theme in Bandinelli's drawn oeuvre (see: Yale University Art Gallery inv. 1975.101.10; Nationalmuseum, Stockholm inv. 128; National Museum, Cracow inv. XV-1959 and Art Institute of Chicago inv. 1996.606).

Three Male Heads, Baccio Bandinelli (Italian, Gaiole in Chianti 1493–1560 Florence), Pen and brown ink over traces of black chalk

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